By Deb Avery
I once lived in a foreign land with no stately oaks, no colorful maples or poplars, nor the evergreen beauty of the pines and cedar.
Though I was experiencing the enlightenment that comes with living in another culture, I felt at times, desolate and bereft. I missed my standing brothers and sisters deeply. Even though there were flowering bushes in places where water was abundant, I longed to be back walking in the cool shade of the hardwoods and pines.
It was a deep ache and it taught me much. I returned with an even greater appreciation of trees and their value in my life.
We—and the Earth itself—have a intricate symbiotic relationship with the trees. Trees help filter pollution, give us much needed shade in the summer, and the wind breaks when the cold North wind begins to blow in Winter.
They are living examples of steadfastness, grace, and beauty.
They are homes to many animals and insects, and have a deeply ingrained root system that permeates the forest floor and even communes with its neighbor trees, fungi, animals and the world around them. But as amazing as all these facts are, there is still one that is necessary to us humans and animals for our very survival. Trees, those awesome, ancient beings that we have cut and plowed over—these standing treasures—are necessary for the very breath we breathe.
It requires 22 trees to produce the amount of oxygen consumed by one person. An acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people.
Yet, we are cutting down trees at record levels. We are slowly killing our planet, the animals and ourselves.
Trees, as with all beings on Earth, have a place; a purpose in life. Imagine a large symphony with many instruments playing beautiful music that captures our hearts. Now imagine the changes in the sound as one by one, these instruments are taken away. One by one we would lose an integral part of the system that creates such magnificent beauty.
Each creature, each tree, each being on Earth, has its own place in the symphony of life.
We have already lost many species of animal and plants alike. How dull and flat the music of life will sound if we continue to do nothing to halt this tragedy. How long before we realize that without our fellow beings, the symphony will never sound the same again.
Even if we somehow could survive longer than the other beings on this planet; the animals, fishes, birds, and trees—what a lonely, sad place it would be without them. We must not sit quietly and watch this happen. We must join together and speak for them, for ourselves, our children. Those beings who are said to be less important simply because they do not have the exact qualities as humankind, are just as important to this world as humans themselves.
I believe every living being on this planet deserves the right to exist and to do so peacefully. And to be able to play their part in the symphony of life.
I imagine a world one day where the children, or the children of our children, have learned to live in harmony with the world around them.
It may be no more than a dream, but I believe it is possible.
Deb Avery lives in the Southern United States with her animals, surrounded by mighty oaks and woodlands. Nature is her teacher. She is an avid gardener, reader of books, lover of all beings and also has been referred to as a “bit of a weird one,” which she takes as a compliment. Having lived in many diverse places, including several years abroad, she has learned first hand that deep inside we are all one and the same. Her goal is to reach out to others who feel different, lonely, afraid and misunderstood. She feels that if one person is helped by something she has written, then that in itself is more than reason enough to write.
Photo: James Whitesmith/Flickr
Editor: Dana Gornall