Inspired by driving through Chile's northern desert for 16 hours.
Some say the desert has an understated beauty, that the desolation is simple elegance, that if you look closely, it is not vacant nor a wasteland. I do not disagree, and I've passed many hours on a bus staring at apparent nothingness, reminding myself there is beauty in the desolation.
But for me, I find beauty in the greener parts of the world, and in particular, in trees. I love trees. Tall and arching as in Mendoza, columnar like cemetery cypresses, round fruit-bearing or windswept Patagonian PHOTO.
My recent trip to Mendoza was worth it just to see the immense, arching eucalyptus trees, shading the streets below. The sun shining through the green canopy cast a green light on everything, making even the sidewalks and paved roads seem alive. Trees with thinner canopies allow speckles of light through, which lend their own magic to the ground below. PHOTO
I returned to the national park outside Pucón, Chile, just to see the tall trees there again. PHOTO And on the second day of that trek, I nearly cried when I suddenly exited the dense forest into a wasteland of dead and bleached trunks, the sad remains of a fire several years past.
I love to walk under trees, on paths cushioned by centuries of leaves fallen, decomposed and turned to soft dirt. PHOTO Moreover, there is nothing quite as soft as the bed of needles under ancient pine trees.
Young stands of trees, thin and spindly but growing tall to reach a bit of sun, give me hope. They are the next generation of trees, reminding me that forests, too, have their own lifecycles. PHOTO
I starred at tree-covered slopes of Chile's fjords for hours, wondering at the beauty of those green mountains. PHOTO
And at home, my family plants trees, 10,000 over the last 20 years, and I like nothing more than to walk among the forests we have created. Trees are magic, thanks for reading about my fascination with them.