Fireworks are exciting. They are loud and flashy, kind of dangerous and sometimes unpredictable. Fireworks put on a good show. But face it, after we ooh and aah there is not much left over. Usually just smoke and an uncomfortable walk back to the car with whiny kids.
Trees are less exciting than fireworks. They are not loud or flashy, not very dangerous and almost always predictable. But you have to hand this to trees: they last. And, as anyone who has read about that Giving Tree knows, it is possible to return to a tree over and over again; and even after you no longer appreciate a tree for what it is, it is possible to make use of a tree to make other things.
American-style consumerism is made up of fireworks. Things that make noise and catch our attention but do not last. Most of these things keep our attention for as much as two years, and that only because mobile contracts and automobile leases are written in two-year increments. After that, the things drift away from our lives in the smoke of planned obsolescence.
Go to the mall. Go online. Pick up a magazine. Listen to a political speech. Watch a movie. You will be oohed and aahed by fireworks. But you will not find many trees.
For ten years we had an olive tree in our backyard. (This is sort of a bad illustration because our backyard is so small I should have never planted an olive tree in it. We had to cut it down.) When I planted the tree it was not much, just a skinny trunk and a sprinkling of leaves. It took about eight years for the tree to mature. Eight years! And each year the tree got better. Fireworks cannot do that.
Look around your house in your closet and garage, on your desks and in your cabinets. Do you have fireworks or trees?