Often when I introduce myself, people get confused about my name: Tereez? Tuh-reece, or Treece? Theresa? It’s confusing, I know. But when they finally get it, they usually say something like, “Oh, like trees but with an ‘s’ sound instead of a ‘z’ sound.” Sure, if that’s what makes you remember it, that’s fine. However, now I get the impression that I’m being associated with trees by multiple people. Just to be clear, I’m not actually named after the plant. But if people must think about trees when they remember my name, I want them to know why I, at least, love trees. 

First and foremost, they’re beautiful. Whether the trunks are young and slender or aged and huge, they have a sense of timelessness about them. Old oak trees are my favorites. Every time I see a huge, rough oak with its boughs meandering extensively beyond reach, I can’t help but think about all the beautiful, sad, happy and ugly things this tree has seen.  Maybe this has been done before, but I have often wanted to tell a story from a tree’s point of view. There’s so much drama to be gleaned from the life of a tree. Just think of the small children who once played ecstatically at its roots and now sit in pain in some lonely nursing home. The young people taking shelter in its comforting canopy to ease their first taste of unbearable grief, who have now lived and passed away. The anxious parent earnestly teaching their child beneath the wise old tree, who has now left behind a tender legacy to carry on. The gentle and wizened old person who finds companionship and comfort in something that has seen more and felt more than they. It’s a relief to know that the two exams to study for, essay to write, classes to attend and two jobs to work, all on no more than five hours of sleep and with no time to eat are just one microscopic ring on this tree’s beautiful trunk. That may seem apathetic or simply a response to too much pressure, but it’s important to put things in perspective sometimes. It doesn’t belittle the things we care about and have to do; rather, it helps us prioritize our own lives and responsibilities. Admiring trees always has a peaceful effect on me.  

Trees are also highly defended for their growth and biological beauty. People have been fighting for some time for the preservation of trees, among the other precious elements of nature. It’s something to care for beyond our own lives, something to leave behind. Naturally, we want to be focused on our own lifetime and immediate concerns, but those concerns will pass away, and what then? But I’m not calling for environmentalist action or posing a therapy session for stressed-out people. I just want people who associate my name with trees (if they happen to read this) to perhaps think of more than mere wood and leaves.