To the editor:

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way… As a person is, so do they see.”

— William Blake (paraphrased)

The midday sun was brightly shining through a leaf canopy of gold, green, red, yellow, orange and burnt umber. It was magical. As I walked in the woods with Ivy, my bichon frise, I felt peaceful, grateful.

The memory of a contentious public meeting intruded on my thoughts. At issue was the protection of a woods area. A town official dismissively referred to those supporting conservation as people who like trees. He was right. That is what motivated us. We also love wildlife and birds; blueberry bushes and granite formations; the drama in the change of seasons. We like to immerse ourselves in it, walking ancient trails first blazed by Native Americans.

Since that time, science has made us aware of practical evidence for a love of trees. They clean the air; their roots absorb and purify our water; they provide food and homes for animals and birds; they absorb carbon dioxide. There is good reason to protect them.

In the face of global warming and sea rise, we are called to protect other things we love: our coastal walks; our history and culture; our beaches; our salt marshes; our island home. Once again, we will be called to speak up; to take a stand.

What do you see?

Mary Devaney


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