In the Presence of Trees, Part 8

I hear chirps in the Lawson cypress towering above me. A new nest with new life. The tree canopy is dense and dark – protection provided by age and size. On hot summer days the foliage smells pungent and dry but this afternoon – a cool, damp day after an early May heat wave – all I smell is sweet young growth. It is a beautiful tree. A neighbor, long moved away, planted it decades ago on the property line dividing our lots. Now its long, drooping branches swoop into our garden with graceful movements. On the hottest days of summer I sit under the tree and thank it for the shade. It has given protection to countless squirrels, a Steller’s Jay family, a young, hungry raccoon, countless crows, and a hawk who used it as home base for neighborhood hunting. And now another young family resides above me, chirping and calling for food.

Just one tree – all it provides to this garden, this street, this neighborhood, the surrounding region – just one tree provides more than we yet understand. Certainly, more than we appreciate. But, we are learning. Slowly, at a very late date, we are learning. I hope we fully understand before we are too late.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

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