Today was a beautiful day in mid-Missouri. The kind you wish you had all year -- breezy and cool with just the right amount of sunshine. The perfect day to visit a playground. The perfect kind of day to think about trees, don't you think?
There's something special about playground trees. There's an oak tree next to my daughter's school playground, and you can tell it is well-loved by the children who visit it day after day. The earth below its branches is worn smooth by the hundreds of feet that run circles around it, and the roots no longer hide beneath the dirt in an unseen jamble. They've been slowly exposed over many years and now lay bare, like the gnarled and wrinkly fingers of a doting grandmother resting her hands on an earthen skirt. Twigs of all sizes and lengths are scattered about, remnants of a thousand abandoned stick forts.
I don't profess to be a "treehugger" as such, but I could imagine wrapping my arms around this leafy lady and protecting her so that future kids can play under her shelter and shade.