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Trees as Architects


Everything about my neighbor’s Japanese maple is design. The yellow color of the bark and the leaves blend together to follow its landscape. The shape of the leaves are like extending fingers, just like the branches extend and extend and bend and turn. It’s canopy curves over passersby and invites them to pause under its beauty, like a spell that brings calm and wonderment so to meander along the branches, pause here and there, look into the knot and escape the worries of the day.

I discovered on our journeys along the I-90 corridor this tree whose branches also meander in a tall sculpture to the sky as the afternoon sun highlights its shadows and frame:


And look closer at the trunk to see the tangled life and struggle of this tree that says “I will live.”


Certainly fairies and elves have lived lived here–look closely to see their faces. One can image a perhaps darker tale, where the good fairies have captured the trolls who had grumbled and guarded the pathways, casting trouble on those who dare pass. Now they twist and turn to escape, but the fairies and the tree say, “No” to evil and hold them here to protect the world from their danger.

Sometimes the roots of a tree tell a tale of struggle and growth, as each root is another path to life for the tree.


Often, those roots create spaces for other critters’ nutrients:


Sometimes trees and vines grow together:


And when someone decides to prune here and there, a unique view of the struggle the tree endured is seen:



Like us, trees find their way through the obstacles that confine them — to keep growing.

Sometimes it’s another force of nature that thinks it will take out the tree, but this Ponderosa Pines shows that it will persevere:


The tree grew for years, then one of the West’s wildfires raced through the scablands, and while it stood and dropped bark for a while, it has now fallen. I have no picture; I’ve watched this tree for years though, and we stopped a moment to thank it for inspiring us to persevere in our own struggles.

Sometimes, when a tree finally finds its end, we honor it with a sculpture of the creatures that had lived with it. This sculpture can be found at the Dumas Bay Center.


I am thankful for the trees who provide the air I breathe and shade I need and the beauty for me to see. And sometimes, trees thank each other:

Tree Hugs:


It’s not “intelligent design,” it’s nature’s way of growing.

Sheri Edwards View All

Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts/Media Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker~~
Art from the Heart

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