April 9, 2005 General 0

I had a wonderful time with my family today. Aside from being stiff and my feet being numb from 3.5 miles of walking..I am feeling quite refreshed..:) On to the real reason for this post….

I am not a raving greenie but I do believe we should be good stewards of our environment. That being said I went with my wife and our daughter to DC for the annual cherry blossom festival. What first struck me was the immense beauty of all of the Japanese cherry trees in full bloom. Then, a habit I have kept from my pagan days, I began looking at the trees themselves. The trunks and branches were often gnarled and crooked. Some of the trees were growing at grotesque angles with branches growing every which away. My wife then wanted to take a different path, when I inquired why she told me the following things:
1.) Only 1/10th of the original trees are left that Japan originally gave to DC
2.) Those that are gone have died.
3.) One thing is that many of the roots are exposed(which I noticed. I know this is not good for trees in general but it goes even further)..the roots of the cherry trees are more sensitive than the native plants and the constant foot traffic often renders the roots unable to pull nutrient the tree needs to survive.
4.) The foot traffic around the trees when not on the roots themselves also squeezes the water and nutrients out of the soil further denying the trees the badly needed nutrients needed for survival
5.) The trees also do not respond well to being climbed on either.

After Gen told me this I took a closer interest in the trees. I noted all of them has gnarls or bruises on them or grew at really weird angles. Out of the probably hundred trees I saw only 3-5 I saw where in good shape. Their trunks were straight, their branches formed a beautiful canopy, and their roots covered. These trees where either behind fences well away from the thousands upon thousands of folks walking around or roped off, again well away from the foot traffic.

It saddens me to see this. While the beauty is great..is the price worth it? Not if it means the trees destruction. Let’s spread the word about how to save the trees for future generations. It’s easy..change how you walk around the trees, don’t pull the blossoms off, and don’t climb them. The national parks dept is trying to plant more and there where several new trees you could see that has either been very recently planted or where just recently planted in the past few years. Even some of them showed distress. We could not find our camera so I do not have pictures of both the beauty and the distress. The trip was great..and I intend to go back..but this time with a new respect for not only for the beauty of the blossoms…but of the trees themselves.

This was a great learning experience for our daughter too. Once I had put all of this together me and gen were able to explain it to our daughter as well. We are planting the seeds in her now as well so hopefully the trees with our small contribution both when we visit and here on this blog will still be there when she is old enough to take her children down there..:)