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Why trees are the friends we need now

I have a new companion.

She is a banyan tree.

I met her while walking the dog. She has two huge limbs that reach out like a welcoming arm. And next to her is a small bench. One day I sat down.

Worried about her sick family that afternoon, staring at her knotty trunk, she thought the tree was all alive. I looked through the light filter through her canopy and heard the squirrel chatting on the branches. And I feel better.

I often visit her now. From time to time, I praise her — “Looks good, baby!” — Stroking her torso and sharing my water. But sometimes, on hard days, I sit on the ground next to her, put my hand on one of her huge roots, and soak in her power.

We are now able to use stable and strong friends.We are emotionally crawling out of the pandemic into rocks — trapped in residues anxiety And sadness and stress Go back I am worried that the world will be overwhelmed again The pace of busy life..

All you need is Tree Besty. (Dear readers, stay with me.)

Trees have a lot to teach us. They know one or two things about overcoming a tough year and prospering during a good year. They can show us the importance of seeing in the long run. They are masters of resilience, endure winter fallow periods each year, and bloom new every spring. They are generous — they share nutrients with other trees and plants, providing clean air and shade for the rest of us. They certainly know how to age well.

And the tree provokes Awe— Its emotional reaction to something vast that expands and challenges the way we see the world. It’s the perfect antidote to the way we’re feeling right now, and the path to healing. Studies show that awe reduces stress, anxiety, and inflammation.It can calm us Mental chattering A professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of Awe.It can improve us RelationshipMakes you feel supported by more people Likely to help others, More compassionate and less greedy.

A little awe is very helpful. Dr. Keltner recommends 8-10 minutes a day, but says that even once a week, awe is enough to make a profit. And research shows that awe-inspiring abilities build up over time. As we experience it, we are more likely to find that we have more opportunities to be in awe around us.

This is why you need a tree friend. You rarely bathe in the forest (although these are all) as you don’t always find mountains, beaches and sunsets nearby. Create awe). But in most cases, you can find at least one tree nearby. And trees offer multiple ways to experience awe. You can appreciate their leaves, bark or branches against the sky. Look at the creatures they hold. Contemplate their existence. When you are friends with trees, you go over and over again — build your abilities for awe and increase profits.

Sae Yamamoto has a tree friend. (Two to be exact.) A renowned tree ecologist and scientist, she studies a vast network of trees, how they are interconnected, and how they need to survive each other. I have devoted my life to mapping. Still she still has a favorite.

Forest ecologist Suzanne Simard visits Douglas-Fir almost every day while hiking near her home in Nelson, British Columbia.


Photo:

Sae Yamamoto Cimar

Almost every day, Dr. Simard hikes the mountains behind her home in Nelson, British Columbia for two hours. High on the trail, she stops at Douglas-Fir, which is over 100 feet high, with branches hanging on the ground, tapping the bark and asking, “Hello, how are you?” But the tree closest to her heart is under the trail: Ponderosa at about the same height. Dr. Simal also greets the tree and may lean against the flat bark to inhale the scent. (Because it produces vanillin, it smells like vanilla.)

“These trees have been there for a long time and live together peacefully as the world turmoil. They are solid. Predictable. He is a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia and a new book. “Find the Mother Tree: Discover the Wisdom of the Forest,” says Dr. Simard, author. “It’s an important moment and I feel good soon.”

It was my father who taught me to get along with the tree. I wrote a letter from the camp to my house telling him that I was lonely. He replied and recommended that he go to a Sycamore stand on the shores of the lake. “Go talk to them,” he wrote. “They make good friends — and they keep your secrets!”

But to be precise, how do you get along with the tree? Start by choosing one. It doesn’t have to be gorgeous and spectacular. Patricia Hasbach, a licensed psychotherapist in Eugene, Oregon, who specializes in ecotherapy that incorporates nature into the healing process, says accessibility is more important. If you find a tree, sit next to it. Take a deep breath and notice what gets your attention. Use all five senses.

Please come back to visit your tree on a regular basis. “This fosters a sense of belonging to something bigger than me,” said Co-Director of the Ecological Psychology Certificate Program at the University of Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon, and co-discovery. The editor, Dr. Hasbach, says. wild. “And be sure to thank your tree-say a few words, tap it and pick up the trash.” Relationships are based on reciprocity, “says Dr. Hasbach. .. “And that connection is part of awe.”

Lisa Gabriele discovered her tree last January while walking on Lake St. Clair in Bell River, Ontario, where she owns her home. She looked at the trees on the beach and took pictures. Then she went back the next day and took another. She was surprised to see a previously unnoticed branch sticking out. “I was full of heart when I saw a living and moving skeleton winter tree,” she says.

Lisa Gabriele loves this tree on the shores of Lake St. Clair in Bell River, Ontario, and regularly returns to take pictures. Looking from left to right here, the photos were taken in February, April, and June.


Photo:

Lisa Gabriele

Gabriele called her tree a “beach tree” and visited every few days to start posting photos on Instagram on a regular basis. She wanted to encourage others to choose a special tree.

One day a picnic table appeared and now there are other visitors on her tree. First, a man snuggled up to the table and stared at the lake. Then the family laughed and ate in the shade. Gabriele began to enjoy seeing others come into contact with his tree. “But I’m looking forward to going back and seeing my tree alone,” she says.

Last winter, Chicago artist Lincoln Schatz spent two weeks taking pictures of trees in a city park, framing dark, barren branches against a bright sky. The temperature remained near zero. He had to walk around in the pitch-black snow. The battery in his camera was exhausted by the cold. Still, Mr. Schatz was uplifted after a year of isolation and sadness. “These trees were even tougher and colder than I was, so I was going to come back,” he says. “It gave me tremendous comfort. We will be back again. And we will overcome this together.”

Chicago artist Lincoln Schatz took a two-week photo of trees in a city park last winter. With a bright sky in the background, I framed dark, barren branches and created a series of photographs called “In Abeyance, Winter Trees.”


Photo:

Lincoln Schatz

Mr. Schatz has some trees in the garden and considers him a friend. I gave my family two aspen (he and his wife married in Aspen, Colorado) and ginkgo that I planted when I moved home 10 years ago. They help him mark the passage of time. He also regularly returns to visit one of the cottonwoods he shot last winter, and estimates that he is about 150 years old.

“These trees make me feel connected to something much bigger than myself. It’s a transcendental sensation,” says Schatz. “I believe they would say if they could talk to me.’It would be okay.'”

Write to Elizabeth Bernstein elizabeth.bernstein@wsj.com Or follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at EBernstein WSJ.

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Why trees are the friends we need now

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