After my last post, it was determined that I should visit Auntie Em sooner rather than later, so that’s what I did this week! My friend D and I spent about 5 days wandering around the towns surrounding Monterey Bay, California, as well as a few other locations along the West Coast. Auntie Em and Uncle T hosted us and acted as tour guide – quite well,by the way. We were able to meet some of thier friends and coworkers, eat at thier favorite restaurants, sit on the beach, ride the bike trail, and visit the aquarium.
When I travel I have a tendency to stop and investigate the local flora. I had warned D about this habit, and that I stop and take pictures of plant life – trees, ground covers, common plants, weeds, and what seem to be random bits of flora. But I’m not sure she was ready for me to ask her to take a photo of me hugging a tree, the number of times I would hug a tree or pet a plant, or how frequently I said “What is that?” and would just start to investigating a plant.
My love of plants seems to be genetic. I’ve been informed by Uncle T that Auntie Em also has a tendency to stop and admire, photograph, and investigate local flora and fauna when out and about. So along with Big Sur being famous for, well, being Big Sur, Auntie Em wanted to be sure I got to hug a Redwood. So D, Auntie Em, and I made a late afternoon trip down Highway 1 so that we could see Big Sur, and I could hug a giant tree. And I did (So did D.).
Auntie Em and Uncle T live in a a state forest! Which means many of the trees in thier yard are protected and they are not allowed to cut them down or trim the trees with out notifying the proper authorities; and in many caes, the state sends in an arborists to cut the dead trees down. That amazed me. Similar to the Redwoods, many of the old Monterey Pines are dying, new ones don’t seem to be sprouting, and propagation is difficult. These trees dot the coastline, thier scraggly branches twisting from decades of sea breezes twisting them into natural bonsai. This coastline forest creates dense pockets of deep shade, serve as erosion control, and provides a habitat for an amazing array of wildlife, including the Monarch Bytterfly.
Seeing these groves of trees everywhere reminded me just how much I love trees. I always have. I don’t think I could live somewhere where there were no trees. There is something about the tiny little ones struggling to survive and the great big, old, majestic ones that have outlived generations of humans, that just mesmerizes me. Just imagine what they could tell us if they could talk!
Most of the trees in our yard have personal names, and I have been known to talk to them and call them by these names (Jr., George, Hazel, etc.). That my be a bit extreme for some, but I hope that even if you don’t know the names of the trees that you see regularly, or that are in your yard, that you can appreciate their place in the plant kingdom the next time you do see them.