Or do they? Popstar wisdom (Jessie J) says: "Money can't buy us happiness". What's more she rocks out: "We just wanna make the world dance, forget about the price tag" which, as it goes, makes me cry every time I hear it. "Wet! I hear the musos shouting. But come on... You gotta love the thought of the entire world dancing, humans plants and all.
This week, I wanted to make a little corner of our earth dance. I wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary Wilderness Act, which set a standard worldwide for protecting our wild spaces. Introducing the kids to the idea went a little like this:
Bobby: "What are we doing after school today mama?"
Me: "We're going to make the world dance. We're going to go hug some trees."
Bobby: "Why would we do that?"
Me: "It's good for your health. It's now been scientifically proven."
Bobby: "Awesome. Can it make you like live longer?"
Me: "Yeah. It can actually."
Minu: "Can I bring my scooter?"
After school we headed to our local park and looked for the most huggable tree. Bobby chose a big fat one covered in gnarly bark, all old and proud like a grandpa. Minu meanwhile chose a wispy, slender one, that was softer to the touch and easier to wrap herself round. Annie refused completely at first, but once she got the hang of it she wouldn't stop, hugging every tree she passed along the way: "Mama, this one uggy, that one uggy..." The next day, I wanted to know what the kids had got out of it:
Me: "Hey guys, what did hugging the tree feel like for you?"
Bobby: "It felt like I was being paid."
Me: "Paid? What do you mean paid?"
Bobby: "I felt rich. I gave love to the tree and the tree gave love back to me."
Need more persuading? You don't have to be a hippie to hug a tree. You just got to wanna make the world dance.
What you need:
- A tree
Top tip: Just like with a fusty old aunt the kids don't dig, they may not connect to the first tree they hug, while the next one may have their name all over it.
Top quote: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognised as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammelled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Wilderness Act, 1964