Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Friends for life!

I'm going to come clean . . . why not . . . let me willingly confess that some of my best friends are trees.

This confession is prompted by the discovery of a fascinating book, 'Blinded by Science' by Matthew Silverstone.
Amongst many other revelations, this book scientifically validates the incredibly beneficial effects that trees can have on us.

Did you have trees in your life when you were young? 
As a child, my closest confidante was the walnut tree at the bottom of our garden.  Easy to climb, it would harbour me in its branches and offer support in every sense of the word.  It was my friend.

Later, whilst at boarding school, I made a new friend.
Well off the pathway in the wooded grounds I discovered a massive beech.   A tree so huge that the tips of its branches reached down and touched the earth in a vast circle.

Carefully pushing my way through this hanging canopy, I'd gain access to an enchanted, green sanctuary . . . a secret retreat, provided by the tree, that supported me throughout my schooldays.
All friends deserve a name . . . I called the beech tree 'Jonathan'.

What children know instinctively has now acquired scientific confirmation, namely the wide-ranging benefits obtained from contact with trees.

Did you know that the wood oil, phytoncides, exuded by each tree has physiological effects on our bodies . . . including lowering blood pressure and calming anxiety?

It's also been discovered that trees have unique vibrational patterns, patterns which cause positive changes in us when we touch them.
Hugging a tree, it would seem, has much more to offer than mere emotional benefit.

Nor is that all, have you ever thought about the air quality in and around a tree?  Not only does the tree absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, but a tree's leaves serve as filters which remove dust and pollution.
Bear this in mind the next time you stand beneath a tree, and remember whom you have to thank for the invigorating, clean air you're inhaling.

Have I any trees in my life at the moment?  Most definitely!

When my cat and I go walking in the garden our minds are set on a common destination . . . a seat deep in the wooded area beneath a canopy of horse-chestnuts.

True, Chloe's eyes are usually fixed on potential excitement at ground level, but this photo shows you what I see when I gaze upwards.

I see sunshine filtering through the leaves and, in Spring, branches laden with chestnut blossom which, in falling, lays a delicate white carpet beneath our feet.
I gaze up at beautiful, much-loved friends . . . friends who, standing quietly through centuries of massive change, show no signs of exhaustion.

These are uncertain and disturbing times    . . .   times, wouldn't you agree, when we could all do with the reassuring friendship offered by a tree?