I have vivid memories from my childhood of being sick with the flu on cold winter days, gazing out the window from my bed, staring at the bare trees. I remember, in the hazy state that only a real flu can produce, watching as the tree limbs of the several, ancient oak trees swayed and the empty branches created new geometric shapes when layered on top of each other. When would I feel better? When would this never-ending winter end?!
And then in February, Tu B’Shevat would come around. More thoughts of trees! Still bare! I would fantasize longingly about climbing the giant pine in my backyard or finding relief in the shade given by a tree on a hot summer day. It became almost unbearable. Right then in February, all I wanted was to be at camp or running through the sprinkler, like any good child of the ‘80s! Thanks a lot, Tu B’Shevat!
The reality of those midwinter fantasies was that I was simply experiencing my love and appreciation for trees and all they gave us. As a child, trees meant play. As an adult, trees mean so much more. I’m reminded of the vulnerable state our environment is in. And how every tree counts!
This year at Beth HaTephila Religious School we will let both sides of this story fuel our celebration. Thanks to Jenny Mercer, we will be planting a new tree at our Temple. As a new tree enters the Earth, we will sing to it and decorate it with thank you notes as we welcome it to our beautiful community! Please visit our new tree and be sure to thank it. And if you feel like it, sing to it as well!
Director of Religious Education & Sacred Music