Part of friendship could be defined as a long-term relationship of mutual respect and admiration between two living things. Trees fit into that definition for me. There are many trees I consider to be my friends.
This White Oak (Quercus alba), growing in Manchester, Michigan on what was once Liz’s great-grandfather’s farm, is a case in point. When he started farming there in 1890 the tree was already of noticeable size so I can surmise it is at 170 years old. Liz and her 92-year old father clearly have a relationship with this fine old tree.
In this part of Michigan this species of tree can easily live to be 300-400 years old or more so, without coring the tree, which won’t happen, I can’t be certain of its age. The great news is, when the farm was developed as an industrial park, the tree was spared and left in a large grassy area with benches and picnic tables. It appears very healthy and is just now in the process of budding out.
The tree is in the perfect place to maintain “friendships” with a number of the locals. One of these is also a good friend of ours. When we visited the tree yesterday, Julia insisted she had to hug it. Clearly this is the beginning of a long friendship and I hope the photograph that might inspire others to hug a friend, be it a tree or a human.