One of my favourite places to visit is the arboretum at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa.
In recent years I have been dragging my children there for picnics and walks along the lush, colourful pathways. We also visit my favourite tree, a Bebb's oak.
It reminds me of my dear old Dad, of a photograph that was taken of him leaning on a cane during his final years.
During a 2005 visit, we noticed a plaque on the tree dedicated to Ardeth Wood, a promising young woman who was murdered on a bike path the summer of 2003.
Visiting the arboretum provides us with a chance to experience nature as a family, to get fresh air and exercise. Visiting this tree provides me with time to reflect with a respect for ancient wisdom, hope for the future and gratitude for being a survivor.
This springtime visit, I remembered to pack my copy of For the Love of Trees so we could identify the different species. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to wander and explore due to tight schedules. Another time, perhaps.
In the novel, trees are featured often - especially the pin cherry tree. It was a favourite place for Sera Fletcher to climb and hide. It was from this tree that she first met Father Gio.
This tree provided the riggings and backdrop for the last performance witnessed by Sera's ailing mother.
Soon, it too met with its fate.
As I look at a nearby cherry tree losing its blossoms, I know that it will produce berries this summer and that the remaining ones will be consumed by hungry birds during the winter.
This tree is a reminder of the cycle of life and death, much like the The tree of life.
If you appreciate trees and want to read undiscovered Canadian fiction, please visit by the web site for The Year of the Rabbit.