The gift of a tree

Danielle St-Aubin

Chief Executive Officer, Tree Canada Directrice générale, Arbres Canada

When I was a child, I had a favourite tree. It was a large maple that grew in a patch of dirt that separated our house from our neighbour’s house. I don’t know who owned the tree as it had been planted exactly between our two properties, but it didn’t matter – it was simply, My Tree.

My Tree was one of those childhood constants; engrained in the fabric of my everyday life.

It was a lookout.  I would climb My Tree as high as I could manage and stare out through the leafy branches in search of my brother, so that I could jump down and scare him just as he was approaching the side door of our house.

It was a haven. I would sit under My Tree to daydream, or solve a problem, or quietly pet the neighbour’s black lab, Jag.

It was a playmate. When a friend and I wanted to play double-dutch but didn’t have a third participant, I would simply wrap the jump-rope around the trunk at a specific notch, and My Tree would somehow become the invisible friend holding up the other end of the rope while we sang: “Oranges, apples, peaches, plums, jump out when your birthday comes!”

And it was the best holiday tree ever. Once the lights had been carefully strung over all the branches, My Tree gave a spectacular show to the neighbourhood, shimmering in all its glory.

When I think of my childhood home, I think of My Tree, and I realize to what extent this tree was a gift. Yes, it gave oxygen to breathe and shelter from the heat, but in my child’s eyes, it gave me comfort, peace and joy.

At a time when the holidays can be filled with the hustle and bustle of activity, I encourage you to take a moment to consider the meaningful gifts that trees provide all year round.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season.




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