Hugging Trees Around the World

Ksenija and Mirek hugging a giant maple tree in Prague’s Kinsky Garden

What I miss most at this isolating time of Covid is hugging people. Can’t say that it is quite the same emotional high, but hugging a tree

Mirek hugging an oak in Pruhonice Castle Park

can indeed be very calming and grounding. Even if I don’t often feel compelled to hug a tree,

Ksenija hugging a giant eucalyptus in Wooramel, Western Australia

I like shaking hands with a tree – touching it’s skin. Every tree has a different bark, some are wrinkled and calloused as a hand of an old wise grandmother,

and some smooth as a trembling young bride’s hand waiting for the wedding ring to be slipped on her finger.

Bamboo has the smoothest skin of all.

Wait, bamboo is not a tree at all, but a grass. Though it grows in bamboo forests.

I can’t prove that trees have souls, but they definitely have faces and they keep looking at me!

Planting a tree is the ultimate sense of hope for the future. You hope your grandchildren will sit in it’s shade when you are long gone.

Mirek sitting under a giant linden tree, traditionally planted in the middle of European villages.

If you need shelter from a sudden storm, a tree can help.

Tingle State Forrest, Australia

It is the big trees that take our breath away. Some are so tall

that you look up and up and not see the top.

Some are incredibly wide and it is hard to know where roots end and branches begin

Buttress roots in Tasmania
Crazy roots in Jorhat, North East India

Look closely at these roots! They form a living tree bridge

East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, NE India

Tree roots can build, but also destroy

Ta Phrom temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Ten years ago on our first of many trips to Cambodia

Trees make a home for birds and… monkeys

A baby long-tailed Balinese Monkey, Monkey Forrest, Ubud, Bali
Langurs in Pushkar, Rajastan, India
Orangutan in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia

No matter what season, trees are always beautiful.

SPRING

The most famous spring trees in the world are blossoming Sakuras (cherry trees) in Japan. We made a sakura pilgrimage and chased the blossoms south from freezing Hokkaido.

First buds in Miyagaoka park in Sapporo, Japan
Hirosaki castle, Aomori, Japan
A kimono clad sakura admirer in Goryokaku park in Hakodate, Japan

SUMMER

As spring turns into summer, the trees give us the sweetest gift – their fruits. The joy of our childhoods are inextricably linked with picking cherries. I can’t help but wonder with a sad stab in my heart, will our grandchildren still have a chance to experience this delight?

A Monet like carpet of red poppies under South Carolina trees
Summer greens and blues

Autumn with its glowing palette of colors and falling leaves is my favorite season.

AUTUMN

A quiet pond reflection
Fall by the railroad
Japanese maple in Kyoto, Japan

We came full circle experiencing the autumn vibes in Japan. There is no place more magical than a Japanese garden with the many different kids of Japanese maples changing colors.

WINTER

With snow comes the quiet reflection of winter (and joyous shrieks of kids).

One of the most famous woods poems written was Robert Frost’s Stoping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Watching the woods fill up with snow while your horse gives his harness bells a shake is fun, I am sure

but so is driving through the woods on a snowy road, with snowlfakes falling and miles to go before we sleep.

Trees welcome the sun in the morning

and rock it to sleep in the evening

Whatever the season or time of day go ahead and hug a tree and you can also tell it your deepest secrets.

But mostly when it comes to trees or anything else in life… Stay curious!