Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~ Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies, 1928
I have long wanted to write about the role of trees in our lives, but could not grasp this topic in a good way, and then I remembered about a unique competition The Tree of the Year that has been organized by a Czech NGO Nadace Partnerství since 2002. To my astonishment, this contest has transcended borders of my country in 2011 and became a European competition called European Tree of the Year. I am so glad that there is such an initiative, which acknowledges the significance of trees and highlights their stories.
A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible. ~Welsh Proverb
Currently, there are 14 candidates, which had already been chosen in the national rounds in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Spain. Yearly, hundreds of thousands of people vote for their favorite, and altogether over 1 million people participated. Each of the trees has such a powerful story, it took me a long time to decide the “one”, but I managed. The voting runs between February 1st – 28th, with prize being awarded in Brussels, Belgium on April, 22nd. Once the tree wins a prize, it receives a professional protection treatment.
Climb a tree — it gets you closer to heaven. ~Anonymous
Do you have a favorite tree? I have one, it stands in the middle of the fields, near a small factory at a less-frequented road. I love to sit underneath at one of the two benches near a small cross, contemplate about things and observe the countryside. The tree (lime is the Czech national tree) is very old with many branches missing, definitely not as marvelous as some of the candidates , but over time I have created a bond with it and I like to look into the treetop to see swallow birds diving into the raw corn straws in the field and returning into the branches, bees humming and pollinating blossoms and birds of prey sitting at the very top.
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894
I believe that you also have your favorite tree and if you don’t, look around, I am sure there is one for each of us. Do participate in the competition and if you have extra time, read a book The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, which I consider one of the best I have ever read.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. ~Cree Proverb