Thursdays Special ~ The Arboreal Position And Why We Can’t Live Without Trees


These late day views overlooking Wenlock were taken back in December. Many of the trees, especially the oaks, beeches and field maples, had hung on to their leaves, which in turn were gathering in, and reflecting the winter sun. Looking at these photos now makes me appreciate how well treed we are in our hollow beneath Wenlock Edge, this despite two thousand years of farming.

But then you simply cannot have too many. Our shamanic ancestors were wise in their conception of the world tree at the heart of all existence: trees are essential to our survival. Without them we would have a lot of problems breathing. According to science writer Luis Villazon at the BBC’s Science Focus each of us requires around 740 kilos of oxygen per year, which amounts to 7 or 8 trees’ worth.

But that’s not all. As well as providing us with the air we breathe, trees also stabilize, create and replenish soils. They support biodiversity. They affect the climate including rainfall patterns, and their destruction rapidly leads to desertification and soil erosion. They provide us with many useful products, and in the future we may come to rely on them as a source of essential and cheap medications to which everyone can have ready access.

In the light of all these arboreal gifts, going out and hugging a tree now seems an eminently sane thing to do. In fact I recommend it. At the very least, it will lift the spirits. The tree might like it too.



Please visit Paula for her February Pick A Word and be inspired. There is a choice of five prompts, each of which she illustrates superbly: radiating, alimentary, frontal, arboreal, remote.

copyright 2017 Tish Farrell

55 thoughts on “Thursdays Special ~ The Arboreal Position And Why We Can’t Live Without Trees

  1. Sometimes I think that if the tree hugging concept hadn’t been conceived that I would be the one to come up with it 😀 Your photos have a wonderful painterly effect which I love especially in your shots. Inspiring writing and message Tish. I was dumbfounded to learn about 740 kilos of oxygen per year!!!! Now, I need someone to write why we can’t live without onions 😀 That would be a humorous post, but really they are indispensable, don’t you think 😉 xx

  2. Fabulous photos, wonderful illumination. I’m a tree lover too. It is my greatest passion to walk in nature.

  3. Amen to tree hugging. Not just for hippies…I’ll often give a moss pelt a good stroke when I’m out in the woods. Here’s to that. Cheers Tish, Bill

    1. And cheers to you too, Bill. Moss stroking – now that has a nice sensuous/sensual ring to it. ‘Wild hedonism’ in a similar vein to ‘wild swimming’ perhaps. Sounds good anyway.

  4. ahhhh- never heard the term “well treed “- but glad we are well treed around here.
    and cheers to your plug for trees – even though I think we already rely on trees more than many are aware of (and definitely more so “in the future” too) – but the healing barks and all that has been around – but a few years ago I found out about the amazing “DMSO” – it is a tree solvent that has changed the way surgeries and transplants are done – and can help eradicate stubborn pathogens….

    and the silhouette lines in the opening image are so artsy….

      1. oh you are so nice to say that, Tish.
        I only heard about DMSO a couple of years ago – and it is a solvent. I am actually still in the learn mode – like some body builders use it for muscle recovery???
        but in some health circles that I used to be in – DMSO is a solvent and it helps the delivery of product. It is used with horses and allows horse owners to get through thick muscle and skin – but here in the States, the FDA has not approved it safe for human use -which is silly because it is used in IVs at hospitals all the time – but they do have to err on the side of caution.
        anyhow, some people with tough strains of MRSA have had success with DMSO….

      2. When you think about it, it’s obvious. Trees produce substances to protect themselves from attack. Xylitol an alternative sugar made from hardwood has lots of uses – is tooth friendly, and inhibits some quite serious infections. You have to get used to taking it is using as a sugar replacement – otherwise it can cause stomach upsets.

      3. well i did not know that about Xylitol. My body does not react well to it- but I had no idea it was all natural – or that it could help inhibit infections….

      4. Apparently your body adapts to it if you take it a little at a time. On the medicinal front, xylitol nasal sprays have apparently proved useful for kids prone to middle ear infection. It can also help remineralize damaged teeth, and reduce caries.

      5. well how cool.
        and thankfully I have had great success using oregano oil for sinus stuff- heard about it in ’94 – but really had to get resourceful a few years ago – and then I made a sinus rinse (with a cheap, but very fancy sinus plastic cleaner thing) with a mix of salt – touch of borax and pinch of baking soda – wonderful cleanser.
        but glad that the xylitol works especially because I bet it tastes nice – and for kids this matters so much more.
        but I seriously had no idea it was medicinal – I thought it was a natural sugar replacement = like stevia

  5. As Paula said your photos have a lovely painterly effect – truly gorgeous. As a great tree lover myself I think this is a lovely answer to Paula’s challenge. And your talk about erosion brought back memories of driving through the Transkei where so many trees had been cut down to use for firewood and none replanted, that there were frequent landslides, often covering the deeply pot-holed, goat-ridden roads. Not a place you would want to drive through in the dark.

    1. Thanks, Jude. Yes, the firewood despoliation is tragic, and could be resolved if there was the will to do so. The African continent has massive natural sources of clean energy.

  6. Lovely late light, Tish, and I am absolutely not guilty of inflicting injury on a tree, ever! Will it help if I breathe shallowly? What else can I do? I am so gentle with my hugs 🙂 🙂

    1. Back in the 16th century Queen Liz 1 actually announced a prize for anyone who could find a way to smelt iron using coal, since all the charcoal making was threatening the building of the fleet. But, surprisingly, I think we have Neolithic farmers to thank for much of Europe’s deforestation. In the UK for instance, I gather that they were responsible for clearing Dartmoor – leaving us a moor instead of forest. We are such destructive creatures. Not so bad if we have creative contingency plans. Or think about replanting. Our genes seem to be consumption driven rather than ‘replenish and restore’ driven. As granny would say, we’ll live to regret it. If we live that long…

      1. Yeah. What a species! I think there’s hope, though, if we, act rationally, make good, rational decisions, elect good leaders…oh, oh!

  7. lovely photos saturated with the surprisingly warm, golden light of the winter sun. My last photo exhibit focused exclusively on trees. They are so unique and easy to be with. And, of course, we can’t live without them. I love how the movie Avatar uses the metaphor of Home Tree for the very home ground we inhabit, our planet.

  8. I am with you, Tish, on all this. Actually worry quite a bit for the trees now that people in power are as far from tree huggers as they come.

  9. Beautiful photos, Tish. One of the best things we can do for the environment is to plant a tree. I wish my property was larger so that I could plant a variety of them.

    1. Our garden is a bit challenged for much tree planting. One could sneak trees around the wide world with a bit of guerrilla seedling planting. I wonder how that would work.

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