A Special Tree

Dear Friends -

Before you read this note, I ask you to do one quick thing: Close your eyes and and think of a specific tree that stands out as being special and meaningful in your life. Were you able to find one? When I do this, I find that many trees spring immediately to mind.

There is a wonderfully massive tree that I never learned the name of that arches over the pathway and hangs into the fish pond at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I used to bring Bea and Otis there when they were babies and we would sit in serenity looking out at the red pagoda across the pond as the wind rustled and the birds sang. I think of that spot often when I need a moment of Zen.

I also think of the apple tree that sat on the edge of a slope at the house I grew up in. We used the fruit to mash into cider. More importantly, at the base of the tree was a sacred and solitary spot that our family used as a resting place for our beloved pets when the time came to say goodbye.

There is also a certain sandy path I know that leads to a sparkling white beach and on into azure waters. As the path meets the beach there hangs a lone casuarina tree that will always symbolize a gateway into a more relaxed way of living for me.

The reason I have these trees on my mind is because Anita and Beth have asked their 5/6/7 students to think about their favorite trees, and to bring back writings, thoughts, memories, drawings, and any other creations they want to share about that tree.

One student has written a poem about their family maple tree, including some very clever rhymes. Another has pasted squiggly string to a drawing of a tree and written about the spanish moss it represents. One student wrote about how he has watched and nurtured the tree in his yard until now it is taller than his father. Another thinks lovingly about a tree that she climbs with her brother after school, yelling for their friends in the next yard over to come play.

All of us at Randolph are thinking about trees this year. It is the theme we have chosen to tie together our curriculum in the school, but it also has special resonance because we are thinking about the wondrous Grandmother Maple tree that has stood at the center of our school since we have existed. She has been a beacon to us, a touchstone, and a source of much learning and excitement over the last 50 years as we have gathered at her trunk to study and talk about the maple sugaring process.

I’m so interested to know what special tree exists in your life!

Be well,

Ben


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