I took this picture when I went to Hawaii with my mom. My mom works for a non-profit organization that works to save at risk and endangered plants. She went to Hawaii to work on the current situation of Hawaiian sandalwood being on the “at risk” list, I was just along for the ride.
My mom had been to see this tree before but it was my first time and I was not quite sure what to expect. My mom and her friend are both tree climbers and they mentioned that this tree was THE BEST for climbing.
I will never forget what it was like being there. When we first pulled up all I could see was the parking lot and a few buildings around us… but I was obviously looking in the wrong direction. Once I got out of the car and looked to my left ,across the road, I saw it. Its branches stretched across the whole park creating hideouts, tunnels, walkways, stairs and bridges to play on. The sun was blazing by the car but once we got over to the tree there were branches that shaded out the sun and heat, in return giving us a place to rest and cool down.
It was most definitely not only one tree in the park. It was a forest of majestic banyan trees. There were people all over climbing, walking, taking pictures, and in awe of the magnificent elder. You could tell that this tree was blessed to have all these people having fun and loving on it. It was as if the beautiful tree was showing off.
This really was “THE BEST” climbing tree. Parents were letting their four year olds up into the tree to run around. That’s right, this tree was so enormous that you could run around inside and on the branches. I had wished that my siblings were there so we could run around together. I just accepted it as another reason to come back.
Then, to top it all off there was a gorgeous waterfall that cascaded down the rocks, right next to the banyan tree grove. All together, it was a fairy tale. This was a kind of place that you could never get sick of. You could climb higher then you ever have before!
Being in the tree, I laid my head down and rested it on a branch. Looking closely at the branches I notices a train of ants climbing along to the top of the tree. They went from one tree to the next and the next till they made it to the mother tree where they then marched their way to the top. The ants posed no harm to anyone climbing it. We were all simply there in unison. The tree, the ants, the birds, the lizards, and the people.
It was then, at that moment, that I realized it could be possible for humans and nature to live together. I know that may sound cliche, but I have grown up with parents and family friends who taught me what was really going on in the world. All the depressing things that most people don’t know about. Things like at-risk plants, where our clothes come from, how our products pollute the waters, and how humans have an impact on the earth. I am not at all upset that this is the way I grew up because there are a lot of people in the world who need to open up their eyes. Being able to see this tree thrive and knowing people come to visit it every day for hours on end showed me how beautiful the relationship between plants and animals really is. I understood why my mom works so hard to save these plants and why it is so important that we do.
–Untamed Medicine, Isabella