Pat, 66, Norah Jane, 9 months, and Becky, 69, Hill of Loveland, Ohio stand with their oak trees. “I’ve always wanted to name this property ‘Twin Oaks’, one for her and one for me," Hill said. "I’ve always thought that the swing hung from the two parents and it was a symbol of the family that we created."

People and Their Trees

“Let me sing to you now, about how people turn into other things,” from The Overstory, by Richard Powers. 

People & their Trees is rooted from my childhood of climbing too high in my front yard’s Magnolia then jumping in its leaves in the fall, sitting alongside a backyard fire underneath our old Dogwood’s stretching branches, using the Cedar on the edge of our yard as second base for a game of whiffle ball when all my brothers were still home, and walking deep into the mix of Walnut, Sycamore, and Oak that make up the forest beyond my backyard. 

I believe that people’s memories and experiences don’t live exclusively in their heads — these memories find home in the places or things they love. Each time I came across an interesting tree alongside concrete or gravel roads in Southwest Ohio, a meaningful story was sprouted from an interesting person.

(See this story published in The Post)

Dan Timmerman, 60, of Loveland, Ohio, stands with his magnolia tree. “It blooms beautifully in the spring," Timmerman said. "Unfortunately it’s fragile to the frost, but when it survives, you’ll be able to see blooms throughout the year.”

Jennifer Timmerman, 56, of Loveland, Ohio, sits with her pink dogwood tree. “It has to be very old because you don’t see dogwoods that size very often,” Timmerman said. “I wouldn’t let your dad cut the tree down for a long time, he would try to keep it alive for me, but now I think it's time to let it go.”

Phil Ping, 62, and his dog, Bandit, of Loveland, Ohio, stands with his logs and boards of maple, oak, walnut and pine. "When I first got my sawmill, it really changed my whole attitude for trees, so now not only do I love the outside, but I started to take them apart and learn how to use them in my craft," Ping said. "It’s been an ongoing relationship knowing how to handle the wood from the log all the way to the finished piece that I would sell to a client.”

Iris Wilson, 65, of Hamilton Township, Ohio, stands with her pin oak tree. "One day, they came back with a little sapling and planted it here by the house on their sister’s birthday," Wilson said. "She’s been gone for a little while now, she would have been over a hundred, so this tree has been here a long time."

Olivia Nerlinger, 6, of Loveland, Ohio, plays with her tree swing. “My dad put the swing up, I love spinning on it,” said Nerlinger. “I like trees because I can find cicada shells on them, and I find lots of shells on this tree!” 

Jan Beller, 82, of Loveland, Ohio, stands with her tulip poplar tree. "There used to be three maples in the yard here that were dying, and I wanted to plant something new that I could see provide shade in my lifetime,” Beller said.

Mary Lu Lageman, 80, of Loveland, Ohio, stands with her Chinese chestnut tree. "This tree will have falling nuts and when they grow dormant, I will dig them up and plant them in the food forest across the street,” Lageman said. “Over the winter, I will protect them and hopefully in the spring, they will have grown. I try to plant other things around them to grow into an ecosystem. So, in a sense, the favorite tree turns into a whole ecosystem. You get to see all sorts of connections, and its endless. It all fits together, just like the overstory and the understory.”

Ciera Rose and Ayla Story of Mt. Healthy, Ohio, and Rudee and Jessica Demarce and their kids, of Red Oak, Iowa, stand with “Everybody’s Treehouse” in Mt. Airy, Ohio. “I grew up on a farm in Owensville, Ohio, so I’ve always loved nature. When I was a kid I would get frustrated sometimes, and my grandma always told me to hug a tree and feel connected and at peace with nature,” Story said

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