Hiking the other day--surrounded by hundreds of trees--some 50-75-100 years old. Realized how grateful I am for trees. They dig deeper daily into the soil, gripping it and holding it, preventing erosion, facilitating stability. Branches become homes for birds, space for nests. Leaves hang on, clapping in the wind. They shade the animals and an occasional human kind. Later they lose their green, fade to gold and brown, let go and litter the land, dying and decaying, providing nourishment for the future. And at their very core they store the stories of the forest--the rain and snow is recorded, the drought and the stress is captured, ring after ring the story of the life of the tree and the life of the woods is stored. (Probably why the cracking and popping when the wood is finally cut and burned in the fire place--stories being sung in the night, released by the fire.) Trees don't race around chasing life. They just absorb the rain and sun, filtering the air and cleaning it for breathing creatures. Making life better for all. I am grateful for the gift of trees.