by Hal Borland
This is the moment, that moment which may last for a day or a week, depending on the wind and weather. It is the same time when tree green trembles between wary bud and opening leaf, when a few hours of concentrated sunlight could almost change the face of the land. The canopy that will be summer shade and next autumn's vivid color is there on twig and branch, ready to unfurl. And even that statement is so local, so circumscribed by geography and weather, that it was out of date yesterday a hundred miles from here and probably will be out of date this morning somewhere within reach of a stoutly flung stone.
And that in itself is a measure of the delicate poise of the moment. A chilly wind can prolong it a little longer in one valley; across the hill in the next valley an afternoon of sunlight can mist a whole woodland with such green as we have not seen in a twelvemonth. The tracery of maple blossoms has been like the brushing stroke of a pastel crayon across the treetops in the lowlands, and the tiny bloom of spicebush has twinkled, stardust in the lower woodland. The osiers and the willows have been amber and ruby and then have ventured first leaves, among the most eager of all the trees and bushes, along the watercourses.
And the others are waiting, the birch, the breech, the ash and elm, and the maples especially. The oaks are later, cautious to fringe themselves with delicate pink and fugitive orange and then with green. But this is the moment when it is beginning to happen, one place and another, that breathless moment when new green leaves first open to the sun.
Yes, I know I am rather late since today is Arbor Day, but why not celebrate our beautiful, life-giving trees all year long!
Arbor Day.org - The official site with everything to help you support and share this important day.
A Hmong Folktale
Spirit of Trees - Cristy West’s growing website offers curricular resources, essays, organizational links, poetry and folktales from some of our leading storytellers and scholars. Rest in the cool shade of its branches and let the spirit of the trees nourish your soul. http://www.spiritoftrees.org/
The Tree That Absorbed Tears - Adapted by Laura Simms http://www.laurasimms.com/TreeTears.html
The Mango Tree - Lao Folktale
Trees for Life - “Award winning conservation charity dedicated to restoring the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands of Scotland.” From Alder to Yew, this site is offers an array of myths and folklore of the Caledonian Forest that will surely complement an Arbor Day storytelling program. http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/forest/mythfolk/index.html
The Tree Angel a Vietnam Legend – A lovely story for Arbor Day about how the banana tree was created. http://www.vietnamwebsite.net/myth/myth17.htm
The Story of the Coconut Tree -This is the story of a beautiful moon princess, but it is also a story about bamboo, a plant which was once believed to be sacred. http://www.topics-mag.com/folk-tales/folk-tale-disobedience-malay.htm
The Story of the Tree of Life - Tibetian folktale from Sacred Texts
From the Mango Tree and Other Folktales from Nepal - Classroom Guide http://www.sarahlamstein.com/MangoStudyGuide.pdf
How Many Leaves - A Book for Early Readers
Indiana Department of Natural Resources - Arbor Day http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/5319.htm#anchor719935
Enchanted Learning - Lots of activities and crafts. Just click and go! http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/arborday/
Salt Leaf Magnets - Quick, cute and easy.
An Annotated Bibliography of Children's Literature with Environmental Themes http://teachers.net/archive/envirobks.html
Quotes for Gardeners http://www.gardendigest.com/trees2.htm
Karen Chace © 2010
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