The next tree you see

The next tree that you approach, stop.  Even briefly.  Touch the bark, say a small thank you for evapotranspiration, for flowers and fruit, for insect homes, and stories that are contained in concentric rings.  The oldest tree in New York City is a tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipfera.  This tree is estimated to be around 400 years old.  Of course, there are older trees in the world.  Yet, take a moment and consider that this tree began life in the early to mid-1600s. Quite a bit has happened since then.

Illustration by Jessica Maffia

Illustration by Jessica Maffia

Trees grow annual rings that hold information about the weather.  They don't tell you if it was a good year in the stockmarket, or when women got the right to vote in the United States.  They don't tell you when nations were born or when frozen yogurt receded from popularity.

Yet this tree lived through that.  This tree also lived through years of heavy rain and years of too little and grew leaves, flowers, seeds, branches, and another ring.

The next tree that you encounter will likely be a much younger one.  Yet, stop, even for a moment.  Touch the bark.  Look up.  Wish it well.  So that next year there will be another ring. 

Winter Tulip Tree illustration by  Jessica Maffia

Winter Tulip Tree illustration by Jessica Maffia