As I walk through the streets of downtown, I find myself enveloped in the sweet scent of early spring. This is a special time of year. It’s that time when the gray clouds of winter give way to blue skies, giving us a taste of what’s to come. This is the only time of year when the wild plum trees bloom and the delightfully dainty star magnolias are opening up. In the early afternoon, I love wandering through the urban forest that is west Redding. It brings me a sense of peace mixed with an excitement of vibrating life.
I recently heard a wonderful story that I would like to share:
Two women, one African and one American, were walking down a dirt road. The American woman asked the African woman if she loved her body. The African woman looked puzzled. She replied, “My body? Of course I love my body!” She then proceeded to describe all the things she loved about her body, like her strong feet and legs and her powerful arms.
The two women stopped in the middle of two trees. The African woman said to the American woman, “Look at that tree. Do you love that tree?”
The American woman replied, “Of course I love that tree.”
The African woman then asked, “And that tree, do you love that tree?”
The American woman replied, “Yes, it’s a very beautiful tree.”
The African woman then said, “Would you love this tree more than that tree just because they didn’t look the same? You must learn to love your tree!”
It’s during this time of year when I see a renewed energy that transforms straggly, bare twigs into graceful beauty. Much like we love the trees that surround our city and define our landscapes, we must remind ourselves that we love our tree.
Marie Stadther’s life in Coachella Valley was void of trees. In 2001, she packed up and headed north. After a drive through the majestic redwoods, she arrived in Redding, where she immersed herself in horticulture as owner of her own landscaping company and as assistant to an arborist. She is now the lead gardener for Turtle Bay’s McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Her love of trees is a way of life, and she shares that passion with the community. Send the Tree Goddess your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.