Trees by Ron Toel

Among the most useful products of nature are the trees, as well as some of the most beautiful. Most trees have been cherish since creation. Just listen to all of their beneficial attributes……They produce fruit, flowers, and shade for us humans to enjoy. They are among the plants that exchange our carbon dioxide back into the oxygen we breathe. They hold soil in order to prevent soil erosion. The tree is the foundation of our living quarters in that they provide the lumber for our homes and is used in furniture production. There sap is used for such useful things as turpentine and other chemicals we use , as well as a coating for our morning pancakes. They are used in the production of plastics, and where would the literary world be without paper. The lively hood of West Virginia, would suffer if not for the coal field which came from trees years gone by. With urban sprawl growing by leaps and bounds, taking over the landscape, such things as National and State Parks and national forest have become very popular places for the entertainment of the human entertainment. In the words of Joyce Kilmer……A tree who may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair…… can see they provide a safe haven and home to many forms of our wildlife. One can see by this list that the tree is a very necessary item in our lives

World wide there are around 50,000 species of tree that exist. Of these, 680 species live in the United States and Canada.. Yet even with this number one, would expect much diversity and we find that to be true. We have the conifers and hollies and magnolias that are always green year round. Other tree like the maples and the oaks and many others, put on their blaze of fall colors before losing their leaves in the fall, as a means to sustain dormancy for the winter weather. Then spring turns the corner and a rebirth is abound with all the new flowers and leaves. What a glorious time to be alive.

Trees also vary tremendously in size and shape. Decorative features of their crowns which may be pyramidal, conical, columnar, spreading, weeping, vase-shaped, and just plain ole round help to distinguish which trees we want to use to in our yards.

A tree is a woody plant with an erect trunk of at least 3-4 inches in diameter. It contains a definite crown of foliage. Most tree attain a minimum of at least 15 feet in height. Others woody plants that do not attain this size are considered shrubs. The crown is mad up of leaves which with the help of photosynthesis manufacture the food for the tree. The trunk is a fibrous woody inner layer and a several smaller layers, all covered with the outer layer of bark. These are categorized as softwoods ( the conifers) and hardwoods (like oak and hickory). The trunk is what hold the tree upright and gives it the strength it needs to resist the other forces of nature.

From the Joshua tree of the deserts to the mighty oaks of the lowland, from the spruce of the mountains to the cypress of swamp land……trees grow in almost every special habitat found on this planet. They can grow in close proximity to each other or be alone on a prairie. All they need is their special favorable conditions to be provided for them and they will grow.

When one identifies a tree, one needs to look at not only the leaf shape and color as well as fall color, and the fruit or cone it produces, but also at the color and texture of the bark, and the type of flower it possesses. Location of the tree is also a helpful hint as two the species. Never look for a cypress in the desert.

Trees are usually classified as conifers ( those with needles or evergreens) and deciduous (the broadleaf trees that lose their leaves in fall). There are always exceptions to every rule……Some redwoods, conifers, lose their needles in the fall. Trees like the magnolia, stay green year around. Don’t be fooled and just enjoy them for their shade and beauty they lend to a landscape.

When one speaks of fall color, I have been amazed at how vibrant some of the leaves of some species appear. Add that with the many shades of different colors from all the tree on a mountain side, and the added shades of green from the conifers… has a spectacular scene before the eyes. These colors produced by the leaves is caused by the sugars flowing up and down the trunk of the tree. The flow is caused by the temperature. Warmer days make the sugars travel upward partly due to expansion….cooler nights make the sugar race to the root system for storage, to prevent from freezing, and this up and down is what changes the color from green to the color of the species. When the sugars no longer rise, the leaf falls.

If the lion is the king of beast, then in the world of trees the Giant Sequoia is the king. We stand on the edge of the kings kingdom. They grow here to be over 350 feet tall and 35-40 feet in diameter. What a massive beautiful king to our plant world.

In closing, I want you to stop and think about the intent of the tree. Sounds silly does it not. However, when a cone falls from a giant sequoia and hit’s the dirt below…….it has no apparent power to think about its future, or the power to make plans for its future. If one cuts that cone open, there is no giant tree within it, BUT we all know it is there. It has INTENT. It has the intends to become a mighty king. If one looks at an apple blossom in the springtime, we see a pretty little flower. We smell the fragrance and see the petals…..Not not an apple. It has INTENT as well. It intends to build into an apple.

Intent does not err. The cone will not turn into a pumpkin and the blossom will not turn into a gourd. Every aspect of nature, without exception, has the intention built into it, and as far as we can tell, nothing in nature questions its path of intent. Nature simply progresses in harmony in the field of intention. Folks, we too, are filled with that field of intent. Should we not let our Creator use his powers of intent for each of us instead of trying to be our own person? He has created a beautiful world…….Let his INTENT lead you through your life as well. How much better can it be?

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