I’ve recently become interested in trees. This interest started when a tree fell in my backyard and I had to get rid of it. I found out it was a hackberry. Hackberry trees are very common in this part of Texas and are generally referred to as “trash trees.” They are the tree version of weeds. From what I can tell they are highly susceptible to mistletoe and falling over.

Hackberries were my gateway tree. I knew what 10 of the trees in my yard were, but what were the rest? The same person who told me what a hackberry is also told me a few of the trees are elms and one was a pecan. Just today I was working in the yard and noticed another was a pecan. I can’t help but look at a new tree and wonder what kind it is.

A few weeks ago I grew curious about the tree that is growing in the middle of our porch. It is a pretty evergreen that has small cherries. I looked it up online and figured out it is a Carolina cherry laurel. Cool thing about the cherry laurel – its leaves and bark have a chemical that turns into hydrogen cyanide – a deadly poison – when damaged. Crushed leaves have the sweet smell of maraschino cherries.

It is amazing to me how dramatically learning can change my perspective. Trees have been a good way for me to notice and visualize that.