Many years ago a lover of trees in the village where my boyhood was passed prepared a little booklet, describing and picturing a score or so of the finest trees in the township. Only the other day I came across a copy, after the lapse of more than two decades. I sat down to its pages as to a feast. Yes, there was the old Cap'n George Bachelder sassafras, the largest in the State, sixty-two feet high! How familiar it looked! How my nostrils could inhale again the aroma of the chips hacked with a jack knife from its roots! And here, on the next page, was the Emerson oak, growing between the barn and the house, and throwing mottled shadows over both—a mighty spread, indeed! I could hear the horses stamping in the barn, I could smell the hay, I could savour again the coolness of the shade as we dropped beneath it on our way home from the swimming hole. That oak and the old Emerson homestead were unthinkable apart. If I, who merely lived a mile on down the road, could so thrill to a picture of that tree in after years, what, I reflected, must be the affection in which an Emerson holds it? Is it still there? Surely it must be, for the oak outlives our little spans, and that any one could lay an axe to it is inconceivable.
So I lingered through the book, greeting each picture as I would greet the likeness of a boyhood friend, each bringing back to me not only its own image, but what a wealth else of associated memories! Surely, every man holds certain trees thus warmly in his affection—trees he planted, or his father or his grandfather planted, trees which gave him shade and shelter, trees which were an integral part of his home, trees which had some grace of limb or charm of character which forever endeared them to him, through the subtle channels of aesthetic satisfaction. "Trees have no personality?" I said, as I closed the pamphlet. "Then there is no such thing as the influence of line and contour on the human mind, and no such thing as affection for the inanimate— which is nonsense."
Green Trails and Upland Pastures
By Walter Prichard Eaton
The author died in 1881, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100…