Today is Arbor Day in the USA. Another commemoration that often brings to mind images of a person hugging tree, similar to Earth Day. It is appropriate that the two dates follow so close together during the Spring season. Arbor Day is essentially a school-based celebration for youth to focus on the importance of trees as both a resource for oxygen and as a natural resource that constantly needs replenishing. Many schools sponsor a tree-planting ceremony on this date.
In recent years, many community Arbor Day events have been either combined with or else incorporated into Earth Day festivities. There is a senior-citizen residential facility in Arlington, Virginia, nearby where Aaron and I live, that sponsors their own tree planting event annually. Last year, there was a special commemoration for a particular resident in planting her sixtieth tree on Arbor Day. She is undoubtedly the Mother of a Forest!
The progress of humanity, unfortunately, seems to be at the price of our natural resources, which includes trees. It is indeed refreshing to see many localities now resuming Arbor Day tree-plantings in the interest of replenishing one of many of our endangered natural resources. We’ll never be able to replace all of our forests, but at least, we are taking a small step in replacing some of the many trees that we have destroyed for the sake of development.
In the USA, the observance of Arbor Day traditionally occurs on the last Friday of April, annually. This time was selected due to it falling during the optimal time to plant saplings (immature trees). For additional information on Arbor day, please click on the link: Arbor Day.
The following poem, Trees, by Sergeant Joyce Kilmer, is one that I had to memorize and recite during primary school. The author, Joyce Kilmer, composed this poem while serving in France during World War I (1914 – 1918). Kilmer was born on December 6, 1886 and he was killed on the battlefield in France on July 30, 1918. This poem was first published posthumously.
by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth id prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
My identical twin brother, Alex, and I can still recall this poem, verbatim, even today. As students at a residential school for the Deaf, we were required to memorize poems in English and then to recite them in American Sign Language (ASL). The purpose of this exercise was to teach us the intricacies of the English language as well as translating into the nuances and phraseology of ASL. An appreciation of poetry was secondary.
Happy Arbor Day! Hug a tree!