When I was about 4 years old we visited relatives of ours in Michigan. I didn’t know them very well and also was kind of a shy and quiet kid. But the mother was able to connect with me in a way I’ll never forget.
We went into the thick woods behind their house as a group and she told a story about the trees. She walked towards a big towering tree that seemed impossibly wide at the base and fanned out in levels of branches towards the ground. She pointed out that there were many small trees growing all around the circumference of the tree, all in different stages and heights, but all surrounding the tree as if looking up to it. She explained that the big tree was the mother and the little trees were her children, growing up around her. They fell from her as pine cones and took root in her shade and runoff. She then told me that if you listen very closely you can hear her talking to them in the wind. I strained my ears and listened as the wind rustled her large branches. I wanted to hear something so badly.
I don’t even know if I’m remembering this entirely right, but I know I was in awe. I kept looking back at the trees as we left the forest, and listening for their mothers to speak. I have never forgotten that story! To this day, when we are hiking in the woods or driving in the mountains, and I see a group of small trees around a larger one I tell my family that they are the children. And that evolved into us saying sometimes it looks like a kindergarden class 😉 One particular time, in the San Juan Mountains above Ouray on a Jeep road, we saw a perfect example of this as a bunch of small trees lined up in a natural drainage and seemed to all be waiting for something. A lesson from the mothers.
It’s funny the things that stick with us sometimes isn’t it?
This was on our hike the other day in Evergreen. It’s a little tough to see all the little trees with all the snow, but it caught my eye.