Arbor Day 1872–2022

Today, April 29, 2022, is the 150-year anniversary of Arbor Day

Much like Earth Day, Arbor Day is a holiday that honors nature. The Arbor Day Foundation encourages people to plant trees. Many communities traditionally take this opportunity to organize tree-planting events by celebrating the planting, upkeep, and preservation of trees.

It seems to have worked! There is no shortage of trees in the United States and we, remarkably, have more trees planted here than we did 100 years ago.

Arbor Day—which literally translates to “tree” day from the Latin origin of the word arbor—was officially proclaimed in 1874 by Robert W. Furnas, Nebraska's Governor. How prescient, Governor Furnas!
The Arbor Day Foundation has more than one million members and has planted more than 500 million trees in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests throughout the world.

In addition, April is National Poetry Month

I love the beauty, the majesty, and the nobility of trees and, in particular, the starkness of bare trees. Surely, Mary Oliver, the beloved poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, says it better than just about anyone. And is there a better time to highlight Mary Oliver than April, National Poetry Month? 

“When I Am Among the Trees"

When I am among the trees, 
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

So…Arbor Day, Earth Day, and, perhaps, Any Day, we are invited to reflect on the preciousness of nature, its importance to humankind—and, as Mary Oliver writes, “walk slowly, and bow often.”
Here comes May - Let the sunshine in.

Maralyn Dolan


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