Has anyone ever asked you what your favorite tree is? I didn’t think so. . . . .
I walk to and from the train station every day. And each day I pass the same trees. Elms, oaks and maples. And a few coniferous offerings — pine and spruce varieties. But there are two trees – that stand out. And gather my attention every day. The first is a copper beech. A beautiful, old, twisted thick-trunked tree with noble mien and stature. It has the elephant hide bark and beautiful leaves in summer. If I was 10 years old again, I’d be climbing it.
It is the second tree though that has my greatest admiration. It is a ginkgo. One single ginkgo in my half mile walk. The ginkgo is a rarity among trees as it dates back 270 million years. Its leaf design is the symbol of the prefecture of Tokyo. Male ginkgos develop cones and the female ginkgos sprout small flowers. And extract of ginkgo is marketed as a dietary supplement for enhancing cognitive function (I buy it by the gallon). And ginkgo nuts are edible.
The most amazing feature of the ginkgo is that in the fall, the tree loses its leaves all within the space of hours. One day, I will walk by my “favorite tree” and it’s full of leaves. The next day, the leaves are all lying in a thick, yellow, circular carpet around the base (see http://www.kwanten.home.xs4all.nl/leavesfall.htm ). If one day I come back to this world as an animal – I’d want to be an eagle. If I ever come back as a tree – I’d want to be a male ginkgo. In a forest of female ginkgos. Hellooo there good lookin’ . . . . . .