Trees Can Die of a Heart Attack

Added to my list entitled “I Never Thought of That” is this poster, below. I saw it at a ranger station while traveling through Oregon, and thought it was a message worth spreading.


Carving your initials into a tree seems so romantic. Young love, immortalized. B.A. + C.L. with a heart around it. People will gaze upon it and know your love is true, right?

Unfortunately, removing the bark from a tree can reduce its ability to transport needed nutrients throughout its system. It can introduce pathogens and invasive insects. It causes the tree to divert precious energy toward wound repair. At the very least, it results in ugly scar tissue.

It also will encourage others to take part in the same kind of vandalism, thus increasing the damage. Because people are, let’s face it, stupid. And they sure do love to leave their marks, even if it means destroying that which was already beautiful.

So, please, if you want to immortalize your love, how about planting a tree instead of causing scar tissue and potential death? Now there’s an idea…


Plant a tree. Then read my book!


Barely a day goes by without some young fool putting graffiti on my drawbridge. I’ve also noticed that if something is breakable and it’s accessible to the public, it will be broken. Signs are defaced. Stickers appear everywhere. Human beings seem to love to trash things.

I’ve never understood this instinct to demolish and destroy. It makes me angry. I don’t see the point of it.

When discussing it with a wise friend of mine recently, he said that he thought it was people’s way of making their mark. Everyone wants to be able to say, “I was here.” “I existed.”

Okay, I can understand having that instinct. It’s why I blog. It’s why people have children. It’s why we create art. Everyone wants to have a legacy. We want to have something to show for having lived on this planet.

When it comes to youth, I suspect they feel as though they will never have an impact, and therefore this petty destruction is their only outlet. They don’t realize that they’ll grow up. They don’t comprehend that there will be other opportunities, but that some of those opportunities will take hard work and sacrifice. Graffiti, on the other hand, happens right here, right now.

I think it’s really important that we teach young people to be positively creative. We should give them projects and outlets for their energy. They should be taught to build their communities. They need to learn to problem solve, not problem create. And dare I say it? The worst, absolute worst educational trend is that of defunding art and music programs in schools.

Producing beauty is essential for everyone who wants to make a mark on this world. Otherwise, ugliness will prevail.


An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book!

My Halloween Tradition

It’s that day again. Time for me to turn out all the lights at the front of the house, refuse to come to the door, and pray earnestly that no one vandalizes my car. This has been my time-honored tradition for my entire adult life. Happy Halloween.

For starters, I don’t like kids. I avoid them the rest of the year, so why should I bribe them with sweets on this particular night? And in terms of self-care, keeping candy in the house has never been the best idea for me. Also, it’s really not the kindest thing to do for this generation of children, who have traded in their bicycles for computers and are struggling with obesity.

I also hate those adult parties where women feel obliged to dress up like sexy witches, dominatrices and French maids. No one puts that kind of pressure on men. I find these displays depressing.

And then there’s the fact that I used to know someone who worked with parole officers with caseloads of people on the sex offenders’ database. This time of year they’d have to do twice as many home visits, to make sure these people aren’t decorating their houses to draw the kiddies in. “Want some candy, little girl?” Sorry to break this to you, but Halloween is the high holy day for perverts.

I think my generation was the last to really trick or treat safely. If I were a parent, I certainly wouldn’t be allowing my children to knock on the doors of strangers in this day and age. You just don’t know who they’ll be coming face to face with.

Fortunately, more and more communities, churches, and malls are having public Halloween events. I think this is a marvelous idea. Let the little monsters and ghosts roam around in a well-supervised environment. Brilliant.

And at the risk of being one of those grumpy neighbors who shouts, “Get off my lawn, kids!” I really would prefer to be left in peace. But in case of emergency, I’ll be in the back of the house, in the dark, listening to ghost stories on Youtube.



Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!