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I’ve long loved trees.

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When I was a kid, I can remember trying to decide which I preferred: deciduous or conifer.

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Well, deciduous are great because they sprout tiny leaves that grow into bigger leaves, change from green to gold or red or brown, and then fall to regrow in just a few (not that short) months.

But conifer. Conifer remain. Sun. Rain. Sleet. Wind. They are Always. Smell so good against a bright, clean expanse of snow. And pinecones! Who doesn’t love pinecones?

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Aside from some weird seemingly in-betweens (looking at you, juniper; what ARE you, yew?) for which I couldn’t always identify the correct team (scientists could tell you, I bet, should you distract ’em long enough from the argument about camels), I decided deciduous and conifer had a pretty good competition going on. Satisfying in that winless way.

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All these years later, I haven’t truly picked a side. Though I have favorites, like a pin oak at the edge of a church parking lot near where I live, and the Arboretum pines.

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They take twenty minutes to a half hour to reach, walking, but worth it! The pines, and firs, and weird in-betweens can be found just over Bussey Hill. A collection of big, stout, expansive, narrow, prickly, soft, smooth and otherwise not-yet-discovered (by me). When I have the spare hour, I wander to see what’s new, to smell sap and tar and soil. To discover what I’d forgotten since my previous visit.

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