As I continue my months-long devotion to trees, Thanksgiving looms large on the calendar. It’s a week away as I write this, and people are scrambling to get their plans together. I feel fortunate in that we had already been planning an immediate family-only meal ahead of the Covid call to shrink gatherings. Without the preoccupation over preparations, I have had time to consider how trees fit into Thanksgiving. My conclusion is that every season, and every holiday, gives us an opportunity to appreciate trees and Thanksgiving gives us some special opportunities.
|Chinese Pistache |
No matter how you slice it, Thanksgiving is about the food. Sure, there are the “required” staples, but everyone also has those particular dishes that the day just wouldn’t be the same without. Take a moment to think about what foods you will have in front of you, and chances are many come from trees. There is apple pie, of course– not just the fruit but the cinnamon that flavors it; pecan pies have a place of honor on many Southern tables; avocados and pine (piñon) nuts are Southwestern staples; some people have to have walnuts in their stuffing; chocolate, of course, and coffee or tea to top off the feast. It is especially important to appreciate the trees that give us our beloved foods; the fact is that many of them are being affected by climate change. I love the flavor of maple and would hate to see the world lose it, but sugar maples are really struggling. The same can be said for Piñon pines. Without an appreciation for and knowledge of what these trees bring us, people are less motivated to protect them. As a side note: If you are interested in directly feeding off of a tree or two, here is an interesting article (complete with recipes) on which ones make the best dining.Here are some really nice examples to get your creative juices flowing. If you choose to stay inside while eating, getting outside before or after dinner is another way to bring the natural world into your celebration. For some families, a little touch football with the family is the perfect warmup to food and pro-football. Others have a less structured or less active approach. Whatever makes you feel happy and grateful, go outside and do it if you’re able. Sit under a tree and laugh with friends, take a bike ride with the kids, or go on a short walk to see how the trees are doing with their color-changing and leaf-dropping. This is generally a time of good weather for most of us, so go outside and appreciate it – especially in this year of Covid when Nature is still doable but long periods in confined spaces not so much.
Happy Turkey Day, y’all, and remember to thank a tree.
Submitted by Pam