Sometimes people who have never been to the Midwest ask me if there are any trees here. They picture tumbleweeds and banjos. “Of course,” I say. “There are plenty of trees. Same as Maine.” But I’ve never been so aware of how different two forests can be. As I drive down the straight, endless highways, I see so much less of that rich hue of hunter green, and so much more of that lively, but less romantic kelly green.
The other day, I stood in front of a tree on the campus of the University of Missouri (which is recognized by the state as a botanical garden), and stared at a small label informing me that the common name of this tree with fern-like leaves that I had never seen before moving here and now is a constant presence – is honey locust.
There are plenty of trees. And yet I yearn for the evergreens, for the undulating hills, and the birches and the spruces and the mountains that rise like waves from the sea.