A tree with a lake in the background.

Tree Love

A Gift that keeps on giving.

That phrase is so very true when it comes to trees. Friends who follow my online musings know I’m smitten by what I call Mother Nature’s Daily Wildlife Show. Much of that theatre takes place in the trees surrounding my lakeside home.

Here’s a montage of some of my favorite seen-in-the-trees photos. You may recognize some of them, as I’ve shared many of these pictures over the years. They show a small portion of the innumerable gifts I’ve received from my trees.

I love kids’ books about trees, and I recently previewed a terrific one. It’s called Linden: The Story of a Tree, written and illustrated by Colleen Muske.

This stunning picture book celebrates the life of one tree (a linden, naturally). It reminds me of how attached I became to the tree that launched my children’s writing journey.

Many of my friends will remember that more than a decade ago, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers nested in my backyard. Here’s a photo of the mom, nicknamed Lucy. That little mouth belongs to one of the two nestlings, both of which I dubbed Darryl because they were indistinguishable. (If you recall the eighties TV show, Newhart, you get the joke.)

I shared Lucy and her mate Ricky’s parenting story through a series of videos. My playlist is still available on YouTube if you’ve never seen it.

My tree was already rotting inside when the woodpeckers began excavating. Their nineteen-inch-deep cavity hastened the tree’s eventual demise a few years later. But even as the tree crumbled and became a hollow, branchless trunk, new creatures made their homes inside. Some of those creatures inspired picture book manuscripts that I hope to publish someday.

Here’s a video I’ve shared before, showing the woodpecker tree’s many tenants over time.

Now, back to that wonderful book, Linden. I love sharing recommendations for exceptional nature-themed kids’ books. This new book struck such a chord with me that I want to write more than my usual few words about the books I recommend.

Linden tells the story of a community’s love for a tree. A sapling is planted and grows to nearly fill a courtyard. The book is fiction, and the tree is anthropomorphized. Linden wishes he could be something more, like becoming the wood that builds a lighthouse or a barn. But in contrast to Linden’s sad feeling that he’s ‘just a tree,’ his human community loves him and celebrates all that he brings into their lives. Here’s a page from the book that speaks not just to my love of trees, but to my love of books.

The story follows Linden through his decline and eventual removal, surrounded by his loving community. But Linden’s end turns out to be a new beginning when his forgotten roots send a sprout up through the soil.

Linden will be released next month. I highly recommend sharing it with the littles in your life. It’s a terrific conversation starter about tree life cycles and the role that trees play in our lives and on our planet. The book is a particularly good read during this season when trees leaf out and as Arbor Day approaches.

One last thought: If you’d like to know about the many other nature-themed kids’ books I recommend, I have several pages of book reviews elsewhere on this website. The pages are organized by various topics. If you’re interested, take a look here.

Image Credits: Carol Doeringer.

2 thoughts on “Tree Love”

  1. I love your videos and am forwarding this to my bird-lover siblings. Great introduction to what appears to be a beautiful picture book.

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