For the love of trees: my musings on trees

Sean Fagan of Pioneer Bushcraft brings the outdoors to life as he shares his musings on trees and why it is he loves them so.


“…and there were sunsets where trees stood hushed and patient”

John Muir

Lets face it – it’s hard to do bushcraft and many other outdoor activities without becoming, at the very least, besotted with trees. Trees are fundamental to many ecosystems – they provide shelter and food to a myriad of life forms, they are even silent partners to many mushroom species.

On a practical level – trees are one of the most important resources for bushcrafters – fuel, carving wood, weapons, traps, food, shelter material, cordage, even medicine. The list is long and wondrous. Bushcraft is many things – but at its root is the study of nature – wild nature. It’s also about enjoying and appreciating nature.

I’ve put together some of my musings about trees – because if you are around trees long enough, sooner or later, you’ll consider them as friends. I know I do.

The miracle of photosynthesis

I’ve been around trees for years – and I’m still occasionally taken aback with the idea of leaves harnessing light. Light that is cast out by the old sun some 150 million kilometres away. This cosmic, vagabond light – scattering throughout the dark vastness of space at phenomenal speed. Only a minuscule amount of the total sunlight emitted is absorbed within delicate but determined blades of green on our wondrous planet, earth. Here, on our planet, countless rustling leaves conspire to conjure from light, carbon dioxide and water – a commonplace miracle…trees!

Musings on trees: photosynthesis is a wonder

Hornbeam leaves emerging in spring. Credit: Sean Fagan

Creating a masterpiece from mistakes

I’m often fond of the imperfections I come across in nature…how life, flawed but determined, gets on with the business of living – of throwing its lot into that unpredictable mix. Makes me realise more fully that evolution is an on-going, superbly-detailed, interconnected and flawed process. Failure and success interwoven into the very fabric of life.

Musings on trees: a lime leaf with a hole

Lime leaf. Credit: Sean Fagan

Why did Buddha attain enlightment under a tree?

Do trees offer council to humans and other forms of life? Are they capable of filling us with quiet contentment? I don’t know… but I do know I like to be around them, near them. I especially like to be among them during a quiet night, sitting by a campfire – the moon captured among the fingertips of their long, light-hungry limbs. When one is around trees for long bouts of time a bond can be created –  and it feels natural and normal in a way to consider trees as friends.

Main image by Sean Fagan (tree shadow of a lone sugar maple). Find the original post on the Pioneer Bushcraft blog.



About the author

Sean Fagan is a bushcraft, nature and adventure enthusiast. He blogs at Pioneer Bushcraft and can be found on Twitter @PioneerIreland.