A Tall and Mighty Tree Kind of Love

Like many places in the eastern United States, it was unseasonably warm here a few days ago. My children were so excited - they tossed their hats and mittens aside, donned summer dresses, ready to welcome spring with open arms. I let them down gently - enjoy this respite I said, but the cold weather isn’t over. So hang on to those hats and mittens! And it might not be warm enough for summer dresses…

At the farm, we worried that the temperature in the greenhouse would rise so high that the trees would start to bud and then, when the weather inevitably turned colder, the new growth would freeze and die. We have yet to install the large greenhouse fans that will help cool it down. But we hurriedly re-installed the shade cloth over the greenhouse roof, hoping that would help. And it did, thankfully. The greenhouse cooled 10 degrees and the trees did not bud.

We also spent some time planting. We gave some of the older tree seedlings a bigger home, so that when the spring came, they had room to grow bigger and stronger.

In the midst of all that, I couldn’t resist taking a walk in the woods nearby. The warm weather was a welcome relief and the trees, swaying slightly in the wind, beckoned me. I thought about the trees surrounding me, the tall and wispy pines; the solid, bare oaks; the slimmer and branchy maples. I thought about the Christmas trees planted in neat, tidy rows in the fields nearby and the baby tree seedlings in the unheated greenhouse braving the winter chill.

Valentine’s Day was just around the corner. I had written a blog post about having an eco-conscious Valentine’s Day - and of course giving your loved one a tree instead of cut flowers was on the list of ways to be even more earth friendly.

Don’t get me wrong. I love flowers. I have friends with flower farms. And my husband will tell you that I expect a (simple and elegant) bouquet of flowers when the occasion calls for it. I do not want to discourage anyone from buying flowers.

Flowers have traditionally been associated with love. The blossoms, the colors, the delicacy or boldness of flowers inspire love. But what about trees? Do they inspire love? What kind of love do they inspire?

Honestly, I think trees inspire a kind of love that we all desperately want, but sometimes we are too impatient, or maybe afraid, to have. Flowers bloom into something heart-stopping and then the bloom disappears. Some flowers are perennial and they bloom every year, but many are annuals - they need to be re-seeded every spring.

Flowers come and go. Trees remain - and each year, they grow taller and more majestic. They might not have the show-stopping quality of a beautiful bloom, but they have the deep and expansive roots; the tall and solid trunk; the branches that reach high into the sky; and the slow, careful growth towards something immense, unshakable, and awe-inspiring. The love they inspire is not the fresh bloom, but the solid and stable love - the one that grows so large, it reaches the heavens. The kind of love that we all want.

Enjoy your flowers this Valentine’s Day - for there is absolutely something about that fresh bloom kind of love. But think of the tree as well. In the end, my wish for you is a tall and mighty tree kind of love.