I have been lucky in my travels worldwide and through the United States to come across some of the most beautiful trees and forests there are. The poet Joyce Kilmer once noted “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” A tree is nature’s canvas and artwork; its branches strong in form, its trunks sturdy and its roots deep.
During my recent trip to North Carolina, I came across “El Arbol de Amistad,” or the friendship tree, located next to Peabody Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In the 1950s, there was a series of hurricanes in Mexico that caused mass destruction. A set of students from University of North Carolina traveled to Mexico to help out the local residents. Showing their gratitude, the local Mexicans gave North Carolina the gift of a tree- a water oak. The deep-rooted friendship was embodied in that tree; a tree that symbolizes sustainability and grand health.
In coming across “El Arbol de Amistad“, I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful an ode it was to the booming population of Latinos in the Deep South.