Have you ever professed your love by carving initials into a tree? I think the first time I saw that was in one of my favorite books “The Giving Tree” which may have inspired me to carve something into a tree in 6th grade. I remember her name was Joy but I can’t recall what I carved, only that I had a knife and this was on a tree somewhere in San Diego where we were visiting.
I think even then I felt a built guilty about harming the tree or vandalizing it in some way. It used to be a rite of passage to carve your initials into a tree but I don’t seem to see it done much anymore. I would suggest this only be done on trees on your own property and in a sense consider what you are doing as applying a tattoo to the tree. Think carefully about what you will be carving and take your time doing it.
Use a sharp knife and it’s best to have parents or grandparents help out like these lucky kids.
photos: Karen Russell