Monday, October 12, 2009


Ever since I was a small child I have had a fascination with trees, especially the really big ones. Most children, me included, spend a lot of time climbing trees, and occasionally falling from them. When I was a little boy, after I had learned the artful use of a hatchet, I did what many little boys would do...I practiced with my hatchet on some most unfortunate trees. I can only apologize to them now. Perhaps they will forgive me...perhaps some of them lived on many years after their encounter with "hatchet boy". As I grew older, I left my "hatchet boy" ways behind, and grew into a greater appreciation for the myriad of things that trees provide. This tree education began most likely when I was a scout. Scout lore of old was ripe with all things of a woodsy nature, in appreciation and use. My tree education continued even during my years as a surveyor. During those years I was compelled to learn many species. Often an old deed would include boundary references using such and such tree, so many paces from fence corner, etc. You had to know the species to get with the correct tree. At one point back in the 70s I took a job as a tree planter in the mountains of New Mexico. It was a rather remote National Forest location near the old haunts of Georgia O'Keefe. It was an interesting experience, camping in the mountains for days at a time, without most of the luxuries of modern shower, TV, etc. We were up there so long that we literally lost our clothes one day, and planted trees naked...Whoohoo!! My college major, Wildlife and Fisheries, gave me another grand opportunity to learn about trees. I was taught the myriad of complex relations of animals to their oft wooded environments. I took a number of courses in plant and forest ecology, and once wrote a rather lengthy paper on the forest communities of Fall Creek Falls. As I went further in my university studies at TN Tech as a graduate student in Fisheries, my education in things of a tree nature continued. I will always remember the importance of the Riparian Zone, that interface between land and stream, as it relates to the stream's health and ultimately the health of all aquatic creatures found within. I will as well remember using a unique instrument called a Spherical Densiometer to gauge canopy coverage (shading) over the stream, and how this shading relates to the location of various aquatic creatures. My academic pursuits, at least at the university level, finally came to an end. My love of trees has not. The pictures posted with this blog are of a couple of large oaks. One is located near UTC, adjacent to the Confederate Cemetary. It is possible that it might date back to the Civil War. The other tree is one that I surveyed about 20 years ago while doing a highway survey project near Etowah TN. Kathy and I have returned to visit this tree on occasion. When we stopped there this past summer, we found that the tree had been cut down. I am not sure what precipitated this action. Inspection of the stump revealed that the inner 2/3 or so of the trunk had rotted, leaving a somewhat precarious support for such a heavy tree. Its slightly smaller "brother tree", another large oak stands nearby. At least I was able to capture this grand specimen in pictures before it fell. An artist friend even did an oil painting based on a photograph of my tree and me. My tree education continues to this day. I read a bit about deforestation, I support organizations that seek to curtail cutting, clear cutting of mixed species forests. It is quite sad what humanity is allowing to happen to our forests. I strongly urge you to read about these forests and the need to protect them and ultimately ourselves. Without these forests, we literally could not survive.

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

Peace and blessings


Namaste...from Mudbug


  1. Great post, love to read what you write! Love ya....kathy

  2. I love trees! Trees were the reason I decided (at about age 4) that green was my favorite color. Years ago when I was In college , we had a Native American guest speaker who told us that trees have souls. When my kids were little , I told them that the trees were their friends, and they would run up and put their little arms around the tree and give it a hug. My favorite picture of my Dad was taken at a place called "The Grove of the Patriarchs". There he is, surrounded by these massive trees. He said that was a sacred place to him. So anyway, enough about me... I love the picture(and the painting) of you with your tree.