Editor's Note

She surrounds us.

We walk past her,

often unaware of her presence,

but still, there she stands.

 

The wind quietly blows,

cooling hot bodies

beneath summer suns.

 

Come fall,

the air grows bitter.

 

With winter we rejoice

in the first snowfall,

rolling and laughing

in a thin layer of white.

 

And in spring,

she breathes new life

into our bodies,

encouraging us to be with her.

 

~S~

 

It was one of the earliest books that my mom read to me. I loved the simple drawings and the language. Most of all, I loved the tree and the relationship she shared with the boy. I imagined myself as the child in Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. The one that climbed her trunk and swung from her branches, the one that slept in her shade and ate her crisp apples, the one that returned to her after years to find a friend and a place of solace.

 

I have always loved trees and everything about them: climbing them, the fall leaves they shed (nothing compares to upstate New York falls), the patterns their shadows create, the rings that document their lives. Trees fascinate me because they are both enormous and yet full of secrets. I remember in fourth grade I wrote a letter to the editor about trees; about how instead of installing new buildings and promoting consumerism, we should keep the trees and let them flourish along the main parkway. How the trees should stay in their place and how we humans should move around them. And in sixth grade I wrote an essay about trees, explaining how they purify the air so that we can breathe it, how they let us cut them down so we can decorate them for a single month at Christmas, and how indigenous people were the only humans who truly knew how to respect them. In my sketchbooks and random papers from years past, I find trees that grow up the margin, like ivy up a building.

 

I still love and I still climb trees. When I see the “perfect” climbing tree, I stop and scale up its trunk and branches, embracing my inner monkey spirit. And when I get high enough I just sit and take in the view, I feel the leaves or needles brush against my skin. I watch the creatures below scatter around the ground searching for food or chasing their friends. I think in those moments, when I am nestled in the heart of a tree I feel most connected to nature. We each gravitate toward a piece of Mother Nature: her trees, her ocean, her mountains, her flowers, her sunsets, her animals…we find comfort and peace when we surround ourselves with that natural “piece,” whatever it may be.

                                                                                                           

I encourage you to use the words and images in this issue to help you pause. Step out of your busy lifestyles and enjoy Mother Nature in both her beauty and brutality. Listen to the birds’ morning songs. Watch the colors of sunset melt over a hill. Smell the sweet flowers of spring. Taste the salt permeating the ocean air. Feel the roll of thunder during spring’s first storm. Lose yourself in nature’s wonder, in her enigmatic intricacies. But as you spend time with nature, remember to appreciate her, to protect her, to care for her, and to fight for her. For one day it will be far too late to rescue her.

 

Kalindi Naslund is a multi-local Spanish teacher, traveler, home chef, reader, and freelance writer. She currently lives in Catalonia, Spain where she teaches students English and takes Catalan classes. While she’s not busy in the classroom teaching or learning, she explores the Catalonian region, makes frequent visits to Barcelona, and travels around Europe.