Up Front With Sara Parker Pauley

By Sara Parker Pauley | March 1, 2021
From Missouri Conservationist: March 2021

My love of poetry came from my grandfather, who would read aloud the masterpieces of Whitman, Kipling, and Frost. The very first poem I committed to heart as a child was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. I loved the simplicity of the rhymed verses, the purity of the crafted images.

Writer William Blake wrote, “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way.” I surmise that regular readers of the Missouri Conservationist are in the former group — in that they find a tree a thing of awe, beauty, and mystery.

I am especially drawn to those branched wonders that loom large on the landscape. Living close to the Missouri River, I marvel at the towering cottonwoods, bur oaks, and my favorite, sycamores, with their white trunks illuminating the world around them.

Artists, poets, photographers, and writers alike have made gallant efforts to interpret the mystery of trees. You will be inspired in this issue by Missouri artist Jane Bick Mudd’s beautiful renditions of Missouri’s champion trees on Page 10.

Just as intriguing is how science continues to reveal the mystery of trees — including how they heal and support humankind — even how they communicate, as beautifully told by German Forester Peter Wohlleben in his best seller, The Hidden Life of Trees.

“Trees are sanctuaries,” said Swiss poet Herman Hesse. “Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.”

Sara Parker Pauley, Director

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler