Make Like a Tree

I f you doubt that a new year—or any time, really—is an opportunity for renewal and growth, look to Connecticut’s ever-optimistic trees. 

To understand how positive they are, you’ve got to know how much cause they have for negativity. The 2004 edition of The Forests of Connecticut, an apparently annual USDA report about the state’s forestland, asserts that by 1820, only 25% of Connecticut’s original forests hadn’t yet been cleared for fuel, timber and land, especially agricultural. Whatever forests remained or had managed to recover were besieged again between 1880 and 1925, when “harvesting wood for charcoal boomed… to feed a hungry nation’s need to heat homes and manufacturing facilities,” the report says. It also notes longstanding threats like invasive diseases and insects before identifying the clearest danger of the mid-century period onward: residential and commercial development, which not only clears countless patches of forest but leaves many other patches stranded.

The trees pictured above clearly follow generations of doomed trees. Their trunks and branches are too lanky to be old, and their heights are mostly similar, suggesting they contemporaneously sprouted after a shared trauma—probably systematic cutting—felled their predecessors.

But like those predecessors, they grow anyway. They lengthen their limbs and stretch them to the sun. They strive to become healthier and more resilient, despite the dangers.

Here’s to a healthy, resilient, brave, downright tree-ish 2018.

—Your friends at Daily Nutmeg—

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories.

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