The first thing I wanted to do on a recent trip to West Hollywood was to seek out the Wisdom Tree. It sounds like something you'd be more likely to stumble upon in San Francisco rather than L.A., but I was fascinated by the story that has transformed this lone tree into a budding tourist attraction.
When I discovered the German word Waldensemkite -- the feeling of peace that one gets when being alone in the woods -- it made me wonder how real are these experiences? Did this invisible forest mist have an impact on me? As a scientist, I relish the experiment. So for one week, I would spend at least five minutes maximizing the human/tree interface, i.e. tree hugging.
I think back to the ice storm and realize it has killed something I so loved, a sound that soothed me; a sight that reminded me of the freedom nature lends to our lives. How was I to know that with the magnificence of the ice storm, destruction ran ramped in ways I had considered, in ways that would change things forever outside my window, for me and for others?
Show someone a photo of a lush forest with a grizzly bear and ask what's in the picture. Most will answer, "a bear." Add a spotted owl to the scene, and the response might become, "a grizzly bear under an owl." What you are unlikely to hear is a description of the flora accompanying the charismatic fauna.