Growing up in California, trees have been important to my childhood experience, which was mainly due to having a large tree in front of my house. I grew up climbing that tree with my cousins every opportunity we had with games such as hide-and-seek, freeze tag, or seeing who could climb the highest. Although I never truly noticed the significance of trees as a child, I understood how fun they were to play on. I can think of an incident where I really loved having that large tree in my front yard, which was when a large Rottweiler chased me while playing basketball and I ran as fast as I could up the tree.
The most significant memory I have interacting with trees was my sophomore year of high school. Ten years after having planted a baby tree in kindergarten, my father decided to cut it down because it was not aesthetically pleasing in our backyard. It was then that I was appreciative of how beautiful growing something could be. The tree grew as I grew and it was a reflection of how we age as well as the experiences we have had. It had experienced heavy rains, extreme hot weather, windy days that almost snapped it, and it stood tall and strong through it all.
Reflecting back on this experience with that tree, it’s incredible how much we alter our environment to aesthetically please us. My mother and father love their lawn, and maintaining a beautiful garden is important to them. Yet, whenever a bush, tree, or any plant doesn’t aesthetically please them, they will remove it and find another type to replace it. Human alteration of the environment can be seen in many forms and it doesn’t necessarily have to be with wrong intentions.
Now, whenever I am home in California or at back at Dickinson, I take notice of the beauty behind plants and trees. We see them every day, yet we do not acknowledge their presence. I have had great encounters with nature, more specifically trees, yet more often than not I lose sight of it in the midst of figuring out my life after college. We are so trapped in our own worlds, trying to make ends meet, that we don’t appreciate all nature has to offer.