An Ode to Arbor Day


In honor of Arbor Day (the last Friday in April for those of you who live under a rock),  I recently googled “why trees are awesome.” I didn’t find anything explicitly explaining why trees are awesome, so I decided to do a little digging.

Arbor Day was first observed in Nebraska in 1872. And it wasn’t that they just wanted to have a special day to get their minds off of corn husking—they actually cared about trees. Which is more than we can say.

When was the last time a self-purported ‘tree-hugger’ hugged a tree? These posers don’t truly love trees. If they did they would mulch, spray and prune like there was no tomorrow.

To stimulate my own appreciation of trees, I tried to conceive of life without trees:

  • Without trees, there would be no tree of life. What would we use instead as a metaphor?
  • There would be no conception of gravity, Isaac Newton wouldn’t be famous, and we’d have to call Fig Newtons “Fillingless chewy cookies.”
  • Trees produce oxygen for us. That’s kind of a big one.
  • If there weren’t any trees, how would you immortalize the love of you and your sweetheart in a crude heart shape?
  • For all we know, spirits do reside in trees. I personally don’t want to piss off a supernatural phenomenon if I don’t have to.
  • Without forests/woods, like half the plots of horror stories would be totally pointless.
  • There would be no ‘General Sherman’ sequoia tree in California. As in there would be no tree named in honor of a Union general.
  • There would be no baobab trees. The horizon of the African savannah would be forever changed and you wouldn’t be able to sporadically bring up ‘baobab’ in conversations to show how well versed you are in African horticulture.
  • Without trees outside our windows we wouldn’t be able to sneak out or obscure ourselves from the rest of the world (although it would deal a heavy blow to peeping Toms)
  • Without trees I would have never fallen out of one and broken my arm and cost my parents thousands of dollars in medical bills and weeks of bratty whining.
  • Without trees, George Washington would never have learned that lesson he learned.
  • Without trees, broccoli would look really weird and we would have no way of describing it.
  • Without trees, Stanford would not have a mascot.
  • Without trees, we’d all inhabit a wasteland of some sort, be it desert or arctic tundra.
  • We would no longer be able to project our own existential crises onto them – no Weeping Willows. Sobbing Rhododendron or Bawling Box Hedge doesn’t really cut it.
  • Now, I’m not asking you to go take up residence in a tree and use buckets for certain necessary functions instead of paying for upperclass housing. I’m also not asking you to start making out with a tree with the passion and one-track mind of Mary Katherine Gallagher.
  • But dammit, show some damn respect.
  • Without trees, my high school physics teacher would be unable to tell the next generation of students his favorite story about how his friend, upon seeing LOTR for the first time, screamed “RUN FORREST RUN” when the Ents were storming Isengard.


And that, my friends, would be a real shame.

So what the hell? Plant a few.


MM ’15

 Artwork by KGR ’15

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