I have been a "tree-hugger" for as long as I can remember. Even before I knew what an Ent was, I always kind of hoped they would talk to me. I played in them, under them, with them and made any number of crafts out of their fallen ephemera. This post is for my those species of trees that I imagine would get up and walk if they could.
#1 Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) - These are the grandfathers of all Mid-Western forests. They can grow up to 100 ft tall and live up to 300 years old! I love trees that outlive humans! They house millions of animals and insects, feed that many more and are essential to the prairie ecosystem. They were even used by early settlers as sign posts to map out lands. In fact, they have been apart of Western mythology from the time of the druids until now. With hot, humid summers like this one, the Bur Oak provides enough shade for a whole family reunion.
#2 Weeping Williow (Salix × sepulcralis)- I always wanted one of these as a kid because they look like natural forts. They are literally the first tree-house! Willow branches are also great for crafting. Mostly I thought the branches look like hair, which makes them look like wise, old ladies. There is something so magical about the way they drape over the lake and rustle in the wind. I'll always long have one of these.
#3 Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)- These trees truly haunt my dreams. I used to wish I could run off like Julia Butterfly and live in one. These are the longest living organisms on the planet! They can live up to 3,000 years old and reach over 300 feet tall. There has never been and may never be anything this amazing. I find it telling that these trees are often famous tourist attractions, have names and well documented history, but people insist on cutting them down for furniture! Not only are they an entire ecosystem in and of themselves, but they can actually house other trees like the Douglas Fir in their branches. Cutting Old-growth Forests is no joke. It actually breaks my heart.
#4 Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)- This is the tell-tale swamp tree with the roots that everyone associates with Louisiana. These trees fill the bogs of my imagination. I love their roots! They look just like you expect the dinosaurs saw them. Sometimes I dream about what it might have been like to be around before the time of man, the time of mammals, the time of reptiles, they time of any mobile creature. They are spooky, mysterious and beautiful all at the same time.
Everything about trees from top to bottom, their history and how humans have been affected by them inspires my work.