01/29/2016 10:43 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Anatomy of a Favorite Tree

A few months ago I was walking at a local Nature Preserve when I came upon a young boy trying to re-find his favorite tree. I so got having a favorite tree! Although I couldn't help him reconnect with his, I was able to have a full-out discussion about the importance of having such a tree -- finding it each time, seeing it in the different seasons, noticing changes brought about by storms or infestations or life itself. And, I couldn't help out by sharing my tree, or by mentioning another cool tree that I knew about -- it's a personal thing why a given tree "rings true" for an individual.

At another location, on a nearby greenway, I of course had yet another favorite tree for that stretch of the woods. Having walked nearby greenways in Raleigh, NC for 20+ years it's more of a full-out tree relationship with the magnitude of "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, and, similar to the shifts and changes of Portia Nelson's "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" -- except that my tree had three short chapters -- life as a work of art, being marked for take-down (similar to the Scarlett Letter "A"), then leaving behind it's essence in a heart-shaped stump. So here's the story of my tree -- in three short (photo) chapters:

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Just as much as we have relationships in the social world, we have relationships in the natural world - from favorite trees to favorite trails to favorite seasons. And both play out in the circle-of-life.