PAT NEAL: It’s time for the best Arbor Day ever

HAPPY ARBOR DAY! Here’s hoping the joy of this most special day fills your heart with love and appreciation for the trees and all they give us.

First celebrated in America on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, Arbor day is probably one of the most significant holidays you’ve never heard of.

Free from the emotional baggage that plagues many other holidays with Black Friday specials that guilt trip us into a consumer frenzy as a replacement for meaningful human relationships, Arbor Day has none of the stress and anxiety of travel, budget and scheduling conflicts where someone’s feelings are going to get hurt no matter what.

It doesn’t really matter when you celebrate Arbor Day, either. Any day in April is close enough and a good day for Arbor Day, even if the holiday falls on April 26 this year.

Arbor Day is the perfect holiday for those of us who loathe holidays.

Of course, if you want to go all out and get real crazy on Arbor Day all you have to do to observe this special holiday in the traditional manner is to plant a tree and share your gratitude to these wonders of nature.

Experts contend trees can improve many psychological and physiological maladies by bringing our vibrational patterns into a healing alignment.

Trees facilitate the cleansing and revitalizing of all of the stored-up negativity and stress and give it a place to be absorbed by reinforcing the idea that we are one with nature.

Tree hugging is obviously good for humans, but what does it do to the tree?

Scientists have speculated that trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients through an elaborate, symbiotic relationship with the mycelium of fungi buried in the soil that has been compared to neural networks in human brains.

Trees talk to each other sending warning signals about environmental change and death. Research has not revealed the trees’ emotional response to an invasion of tree huggers.

To the trees, the human race most probably represents a bunch of road-building, carbon-spewing apes with fire and chainsaws whose daily activities push the Earth closer to midnight on the doomsday clock.

That’s not something trees want to hug.

Psychologists tell us that modern humans are typically a festering mass of stress, fear and anxiety that work themselves to death advancing a material myth in a consumer culture.

This could be why some folks would want to hug a tree in the first place.

The trees don’t ever talk back. The trees are used as a psychic dumping ground.

Isn’t it enough that we rely on trees for our houses, furniture and paper products?

Do we have to subject trees to unwanted touching in an attempt to burden them with our personal problems?

Then there is the actual physical harm abusive tree hugging can cause.

People are not only stressed out these days, they weigh a whole lot more than they used to.

A tree subjected to an ill-advised “group hug” around the victim can be devastated.

Remember the fungi?

While you’re hugging the tree, you’re stomping the filigree of fungi mycelium beneath the soil that not only feeds the tree, but also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere.

Abusive tree hugging can remove the rich tapestry of moss, lichen and lungworts covering the bark, preserving moisture and providing a home to bacteria that take nitrogen from the air and supply it to the tree so it can grow still larger.

It is hoped that this Arbor Day people will stop putting our forest friends at risk with this barbaric practice of tree hugging.

Plant a tree and have the best Arbor Day ever.


Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patneal

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