Many of my friends know me as a tree hugging hippie. This is the story of how I quite literally became a tree hugger.
Many, many moons ago I took my son hiking at Indiana Dunes State Park. We hiked the dunes, which of course is a challenging hike. For every step up in the loose sand, I slid backward two steps. Eventually we did get to the top of the dune and felt quite accomplished.
But that’s not how I became a tree hugger.
After the dunes, we hiked the many trails through the varied landscapes of the park. While in the forested part of the park, I remarked to my son that there were many fallen trees and hardly any large trees.
He instantly made a game of it. “Ya know, you’re right…we’ll count how many big trees we see today.” “Okay, but how do we define ‘big’” I asked him. “Hmmm” he had to think about that for a moment when he came up with a perfect solution. “Oh, I know! If I see a tree that looks big, I’ll point it out. Then you go measure it with your arms. If your arms reach all the way around and meet on the other side,then it’s small. But if you can’t touch your hands then it’s big.” “Okay” I agreed, “you just let me know if you see a tree that looks bigger than this” I said holding my arms in front of myself.
All that afternoon we walked the park, “Oh there’s a big one” he’d point out. And I’d go running through the woods hugging all the trees. And that’s how I became a tree hugger.
Postscript: In case you’re wondering, I found out the reason the trees fall over so easily and don’t grow very big is due to the loose sandy soil of the dunes. The dunes are constantly shifting and moving, making the soil very loose. Once the trees grow so big, they become too top heavy and the loose soil just can’t hold the roots. Even a slight wind or storm can easily blow the trees over.
And sadly, there are no pictures of myself hugging the trees. But this is my story and I’m sticking to it. You’ll just have to trust me.