Short essay: Reflections on a lonely tree

by Gideon Lasco

A single tree communicates to us more directly than a multitude in a forest, perhaps because we are brought to the fundamentals of its beauty and character. Its individuality allows us to see its majesty from different points of view: its vigorous trunk, the unique configuration of branches, the crowning glory of its leaves.

As humans caught in the ever-flowing river of life, we yearn for constancy, and we are assured when we see the same tree again. Seasons change; the mountain turns from green to brown, and back to green again. We have fleeting encounters with the birds and wild animals, but they we can never see them in the same spot twice. For animals and humans, movement is a sign of life. But not so for trees, for which it is stability that is the hallmark of a life well lived. Left in peace, many trees possess a longevity, an “always-thereness” that for us is a comforting presence.

On the other hand, we can also see in an isolated tree its fragility. When the wind blows, it perturbs ever so slightly. Its leaves rustle – the sound of refreshment in a hot summer’s day. But this motion makes us realise that trees can be moved. Strong enough winds can uproot a tree, but with its deep roots it at least has a fighting chance. More ominous is the fact that the bare tree is defenceless against a chainsaw.


When I think of solitary trees, the one in Mt. Batulao’s Old Trail or the one in Mt. Pulag come to mind. Surely, many outdoor lovers, myself included, will not allow these beautiful trees to be destroyed. They have become friends to us even in their silence: not just a mute witness but a companion to our adventures and to our growth as mountaineers and men. May they live forever!

This brings me to my final thought. If a single tree is worth protecting, what more an entire forest, and what more an entire country of forests?

We have much work to do.

Los Baños, Laguna
February 9, 2015

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3 Comments on "Short essay: Reflections on a lonely tree"

8 years 7 months ago

Someday they will realize naman na mali yung ginawa nila. Hope that someday is tomorrow na and that will make them a good teacher sa mga magiging katulad nila.

Mahanaim Mizpah
9 years 3 months ago

..I was in Mt. Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas last february 07-08 with some members of our group: ate Gem, ate Shielaj, Kuya Dayong and Kuya Olukz..

..may mga dumating ng 11:00pm sa camp1 sa Old Trail ang ginawa.? Nag-ingay, naginuman hanggang 5:00, nag harutan to the point na tinumbahan nung dalawang lalaki yung tent namin at natamaan nila sa mukha ang kasama ko.. While they were drinking we heard that they are "LASALISTA" and they called their group "Salaula Mountaineer" at pinanindigan nila ang pagkasalaula nila..

ang daming eskarsyonista..may nagiwan pa ng garbage bag na puro basura sa New Trail..may mga putol na puno dun sa trail sa likod nung peak 8 if i'm not mistaken..May nag gamit ng Marijuana dun sa may registration area..Katwiran nila.?? Sa syudad lang bawal hindi sa bundok..what the.???

nakakalungkot lang.. 🙁

8 years 7 months ago

Siguro di pa nila na rerealize kung ano ang mahalaga sa buhay dahil napalaki sila ng komportable ng kanilang mga magulang….. Mababaw ang kanilang pagtingin sa buhay di tulad ng mga totoong nakatira sa bundok. Sila ay mismong pagiingatan at pagyayamanin kung ano lang ang mayroon sila. Tayo ay mapalad dahil malawak ang ating pang unawa sa mga kagaya nila.