I’ve never understood how the noun “tree-hugger” became a pejorative, like: “dick,” “bitch” or “drama queen.” (if you still believe the latter is allowable see: calm down? f@#k off!)
How can hugging trees indicate anything other than awareness and respect for all the gifts they give the whole planet? If you’ve never considered them as actual beings, if you’ve taken them for granted, if you’ve turned them into a category, then slowly ruminate over this phenomenal bestowal:
Shade, oxygen, cooling of the planet, pollen for health and honey, fruits, flowers, oils, teas, coffee, spices, flavorings, medicines, wood for furniture, houses, boats, musical instruments, etc., decorations, fuel, rubber, maple syrup, sugars, nuts, mushrooms, gum, fertilizer, bark, fibers, paper, cardboard, glue, resins, dyes & inks, turpentine, insulation, cotton/silk (Ceiba Tree), shampoo and perfumes.
Beauty! tinting all seasons.
Bird roosts, homes and hosts for infinite beings, nesting materials. Trees mitigate humidity (add and subtract as needed), modify sound & light, give color, improve water: their roots are a natural water cleaning system, reduce soil erosion, wash the air, prevent pollution, maintain ecological balance and they add major property value.
Their presence textures our landscape vision. Trees have proven calming effects, ameliorate depression, provide fun (climbing), relaxation (think hammocks); they live hundreds of years; redwoods create whole new environments at the top of themselves and “they change the chemical nature of the soil…assum[ing] control of vital resources in the forest, particularly sunlight and water.”
Considering how humans treat them, use and abuse them without a thought or a thank you, trees exhibit infinite patience, something we could all use a little more of.
Maybe most importantly—in a world gone missing in doing and consuming—trees model wisdom in stillness.