What I remember most about my first elementary school is the small woods in the corner of the playground. I spent every recess wandering around under those trees, feeling protected by their leafy branches. Sometimes I found little twigs that smelled like root beer and hid them in my desk. When school got boring, I could hold one of those twigs under my nose and imagine a tall frothy drink.
Then, in third grade I transferred to a bigger school where the playground was a gravel square. I missed the woods and the sense of safety I felt among the trees. Years later, I visited that first school and was surprised to find that the "woods" of my memory was really only about ten trees. It had seemed a magic place to me as a child living in a barren subdivision.
And I see that it doesn't take a thousand trees to kindle a love of nature. A dozen might work as well. Of course we must protect our forests. But let's not forget those little patches of woods that have managed to survive on our playgrounds, in our parks and back yards.
They still shelter us.