I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

~ Joyce Kilmer

I miss the dense forests of northeastern Alabama where I grew up. The moist, earthy fragrance of the leaves of so many previous years slowly decaying on the forest floor still lives in my memory, evoking emotions and a longing to walk barefoot through the trees. I love the dappled pattern of the bits of sunlight that are able to penetrate the canopy and the lovely, soft lichen that grows on the bark of certain trees.

When I was a lad, we had three gigantic oak trees in our yard. Each of them was at least a meter in diameter. The gnarled, twisted roots splayed across the surface of the ground providing an endless variety of imaginary landscapes for my siblings and me to play. As I grew a bit older I used to create fantasies in which those three trees were central. They were sentient, of course, and talked to each other and to me. They told me stories of their youth. When Columbus made his “discovery” of the Americas, they were young, slender saplings. They told me stories of the Cherokee Indians who lived in the area. They were marvelous companions for a wee boy with an overactive imagination!

Everything has a beginning and an end. Sadly, all three of those trees fell victim to lightning and now only live in my memory. One of them, the one we were able to climb and play in, made its way into my book, New Yesterdays, Changed Tomorrows. We had grand times playing under those wonderful trees. I’d like to find a portal to take me back, just for a bit, to those days when the trees talked to me and told me stories.

Enjoy these pictures of trees gleaned from the World Wide Web.

Angel Oak Tree

Giant Sequoia, General Sherman

Autumn Colors, Lake Chinnabee, Talladega National Forest, Alabama

Live Oaks in Georgia

Ancient Olive Trees in Jordan

Santa Barbara Tree in California


About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. Since 2009 he has lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook.
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29 Responses to Trees

  1. Wow this was amazing. Thanks for the share, very scenic and breath taking photos as well.


  2. ashnfinn says:

    Beautiful post! And it’s always a pleasure to stop by your place. Am currently on holidays in the West of Ireland and comfortably denned up on top of a hill looking out at – you guessed it – trees.


    • olbigjim says:

      Ah, the West of Ireland! I spent a couple weeks there some years back on a self-drive tour. Best vacation of my life! I’m sure you’re having a grand time altogether! Thanks for stopping by, Ashe!


  3. We saw the Giant Sequoias when we were at Yosemite last year, although not the particular one in your photo. The picture of the Angeal Oak Tree is amazing!


    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! The Giant Sequoias are just breathtaking, aren’t they? We had an Angel Oak in our backyard when I was a boy. It was a play-place with endless imaginary scenes.


  4. Tim Childers says:

    Well Ol Big Jim — Your writing is a portal for me! I love it and I love it when you mention where we grew up! One of my fondest memories of my childhood is going into the woods with my grandmother and “picking leaves” (the colorful fall leaves), bringing them back into the house and making a giant display in the middle of her very small wooden dining room table!

    Keep writing! I know you will — it is not in you to stop it!!


    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Tim! The places we came from are what made us what we are today. I can’t imagine writing anything without at least a hint of our region. A quick aside; a friend found a framed copy of “Trees” in an antique shop many years ago and, knowing my affinity for that poem bought it for me. I’ll treasure it until my dying day!


  5. BobR says:

    Funny – quite a few bloggers I follow, and several people in some of my Facebook groups have posted pics, poems and short stories about tress over the past few weeks.
    Nice view of Talladega.


  6. starla dee says:

    I remember having to learn that poem in grammar school. I have always liked it also. I have seen some of the “Red Woods” that are simply beautiful. But nothing is like “home”. I miss the “hills, trees, and the “seasons” of where we are from… Love ya Jim…


  7. Adrian A says:

    The first picture really appeals to me. I have always had a thing for scenic views and I can just imagine the nice stomach knotting that would give me. 🙂


  8. 400daystil40 says:

    Gorgeous photos!


    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks so much! The first photo, Talladega National Forest, is where I grew up and spent a great many of my first 50 years of life. Beautiful place!


  9. These are some amazing tree photos! Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos. Look forward to more posts!


  10. There is something so humbling about standing next to these leafy giants, yes? Alabama was so lush, as I remember. I lived in Muscle Shoals for a while. Nice pics and lovely words.


    • olbigjim says:

      Humbling, yes. Until we can create life from nothing, we should realize just how insignificant we really are. I do miss the lush forests of Alabama. The little forests we have here don’t even begin to compare!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  11. .c.g. says:

    Hi Jim!

    Nostalgia and love are somethings that can be felt internationally, without any languague barriers or religious blocks. I’m not an English native speaker and even don’t get all words in your entry : ), but i can still feel your heart when you miss your childhood.

    I came here from Rose’s page – the little girl from Simply a Food Blog. I firstly thought you’re a poets. Then I thought you are a writer. Now, i’m still not sure who you are, but whatever, i’m interested in what you’ve posted. Not only reading, i also learned somethings, e.g, vocabularies and the way you describe things 🙂

    i’m writing a story about forest and intend to turn it into English (just for fun ^^!). This entry does help me a little bit, and i hope you could help me more, since you seemed to maintain a strong connection with trees and nature when you was young 🙂

    Have a nice day, Jim, and thanks for the world of words you have bring to us : )


    • olbigjim says:

      Thank you so much for stopping at my blog and for your beautiful comments! I’m not a poet, but I am a writer. I’m also a painter and a retired accountant. I’ve worn many hats in my day.

      I hope you’ll continue stopping to visit my blog and hopefully buy and read my book! Thanks again!


  12. sybaritica says:

    If you ask southerners who come up here to the Arctic what they miss most, it isn’t the variety of groceries, the services etc… it’s the trees!


    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks for stopping and commenting, Sybaritica! I can certainly sympathise with them! We do have trees here in Jordan, but they seem so small and scraggly compared to the lush, dense forests we have in the South. Even the olive trees that date back more than two thousand years seem tiny by comparison.


  13. PTrann's Kitchen says:

    woww they are giant tree that I’ve never seen them . Thanks for sharing these picture


  14. PTrann's Kitchen says:

    let me stop by your blog when I have a free time because your blog is interesting and useful for me studying . . .


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