My brother and I both played travel sports when we were younger and were on the road nearly every weekend. To combat my restlessness, our family would play games in the car – one of them being bingo. Instead of numbers though, each square had a different object on it – a deer, a policeman, a tree. A tree? Yes, as an 8 year old growing up in Vermont I was also confused by this square. There are trees everywhere…this game is for babies, I contested.
While I definitely took my relationship with trees for granted, they also became some of the best playmates. I spent countless hours in the tree house in our backyard, climbing the tree in my front yard with a jumprope tied to my waist, and most shockingly – chopping down a tree in a state park (which I didn’t know was illegal at the time so cut me some slack).
I would like to give some context to my “crime against tree” and the lessons that I have learned.
Every summer, my dad and I go camping on Knight’s Island located on Lake Champlain. Trying to be a good camper, my friend and I ventured into the woods to locate some firewood in order to cook dinner. We brought a saw (because who doesn’t trust a 10 year old with a saw?!) and started collecting bits of kindling.
Bored with our collection, we decided that sawing down a skinny tree would be an effective and efficient way to collect firewood for that evening’s supper. It took forever but eventually we marched back to our campsite as proud as could be – until we learned that you can’t use live wood in fires – whoops. R.I.P. To that tree, but I have learned my lesson – let living trees live.