Just Sayin’: Why Trees?

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree … “

Boy, that Joyce Kilmer knew whereof he spoke. In this part of the state, trees are an ever present part of our existence but one to which we give little thought unless they give us a problem.

I’ve always been a colossal fan of trees. As you’ve heard me say, I grew up in the desert,  but we had a cabin 60 miles  away and 5000 feet higher in a place called Idylwild. I absolutely loved it there. I can remember coming home from Idylwiid when I was about five. I stood out in our front yard,  looking up in the sky and saying, “God, if you would just let it rain more here, we could have trees like they do up in the mountains. “  I was so sure He hadn’t thought of that.

As a kid, trees meant a place to play that was out of the heat. Oh we had trees … mesquite trees that were full of evil and aggressive thorns. . .  a few cottonwood here and there … once in a while a tamarack or a palo verde. But those were always few and far between. None of those trees actually offered much in the way of shade and, except for the tamarack, no good vehicle for climbing. Which may explain why, in my adult life, I’ve tended to move farther and farther north to wetter and wetter climate that allow for more and more trees.

I can wax poetic when thinking about trees. Although I agree with Kilmer that

“Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”

Still, I think of trees in the Summer as those entities who wrap their arms
of shade around us to mitigate the unrelenting heat.

I think of blossoming trees in the Spring as providing the dotted Swiss in
the fabric of our lives

In the Winter they provide nature with the material for her to tat lace along
the ridge lines of the hills.

And in the Fall the trees give us the stained glass windows in the
cathedral of autumn …

EXCEPT … EXCEPT …

The gray (Digger) pine. I never thought there would a specie of tree … pine no less … that would elicit from me such a feeling of disdain and dismay, but the gray pines around my house have managed on both those counts. Disdain because they are ungainly and dirty to say nothing of ugly! Dismay because they are actively dangerous. They carry their very heavy,  pitch laden cones primarily in the crown of the tree. Word of warning: don’t park under one … or even stand under one. You risk an acutely painful bombardment from above and one that can do serious damage to your car in dents and broken windshields. In a wild fire, those same pitchy pine cones can explode into burning embers that  can still be burning a half mile down wind.

I’m sure there are those of you out there who would have reason to extoll the lowly gray pine. I don’t want to hear it. As the saying goes, “my mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts!” … if, indeed, there are any.

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

Adrienne Jacoby
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.
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5 Responses

  1. I love trees, also. I love looking at them. I like drawing them, either singly or collectively. I love smelling them and when I was a kid, I loved climbing them.

    In fact, I have a childhood memory of visiting a park in Indianapolis, where I grew up, and the trees there were perfect climbing trees! I climbed higher than I had ever climbed before, with my mother standing at the base, not saying anything but I'm sure thinking plenty. Like "that's high enough, come down now".

    Mom is gone now so I can't ask her where that park was and none of my sibs remember that day either… maybe I dreamt it????

    Anyway, thanks for your ode!

  2. Avatar Charlotte Brothwell says:

    A lovely article Friend! I, too, love trees. But, not so much the ones with the small dandruff -like white circles that blow into our garage and all over our porch and yard from two houses away in the spring (I guess that's tree mating season) or the pine tree that drops needles all over the roof of the Morro Bay house. I'm sad when I see people cutting down beautiful yard trees or cutting them back so much they are damaged.

    We have a lovely fruitless mulberry in our North side yard with a disc rope swing. Katie who is now 20 and fighting fires to protect trees was the first one to "break in" the swing. I think the Hansen kids have named that tree "Bob". The nectarine tree is named "Henry". Both Bob and Henry see lots of action when our great-

    grandchildren show up. They are climable and swingable. Oh yes! We also have a black walnut tree in our back yard named Treebeard.

    We had a tree (don't remember what kind) about 10' from our back door in Los Angeles when I was growing up. It was real easy to jump up on and climb up high enough so that my Mom couldn't always see me if that was prudent. Mr. Kimball, who lived across the vacant lot and painted seascapes on wood then scraped them off and painted a different seascape (at age 9 I thought it was such a waste), had a huge pepper tree with a grand swing on their hillside yard as well as an apricot tree. He also baked white bread and had uncolored white oleo and apricot jam for us sometimes. Thank goodness some things never change. Thank God for trees. And thank goodness for thoughtful, talented friends who write lovely things. Thanks for the happy memories.

  3. Avatar Robb says:

    I know what you mean about loving trees… but. As a kid in Bakersfield, I thought every tree was a mulberry. They were "the tree" in our suburban track-home neighborhood. Nothing wrong with that, but when my family traveled, I saw the beauty and variety out there. Then, when we moved up here, I learned that the oaks are to be admired–and feared. We had one in our backyard literally disintegrate with a crash. Thank God no one was near it. I read with sorrow the loss this week of a student at Chico state, sitting on a bench when she was struck with a 14" branch that fell from at least 20 feet. How awful.

    I still love trees, but have come to realize that they must be regarded with caution, and some that are close to dwellings or walkways, should be removed.

    • Avatar `AJacoby says:

      Gee, Robb . . . growing up in Bakersfield is the next best thing o growing up in THERMAL . . . both aptly named!!

  4. Avatar Joanne Snyder says:

    I love reading what your articles Adrienne. I spend a lot of time in Nevada in areas with no water and scrubby trees, and I love living in an area where I can walk to water and there are all sorts of trees. Shade and fruit…