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Our Kinship With Trees

By Tim Hazell

Studies show that responses to trees are innate. We react to their presence with subliminal emotions and physiological acceptance. Visual contact with trees in urban settings has been shown to relieve daily stress and improve our mental health. Trees provide nature’s equivalent of cathedral vaults under which we seek the opportunity to ponder. Sitting in a park or actively moving through wooded countryside releases memories into our perception of an environment. In this verse by poet Martin Carver, they symbolize honest work.


Bitter Wood

Here is where I am,

in a great geometry, between

a raft of ants and the green sight

of the freedom of a tree, made

of that same bitter wood.


People feel aligned with trees. Cultures throughout history have recognized their value as sources of medicinal remedies. As part of the agricultural revolution that occurred with the advent of organized settlements and domestication of crops, they have been responsible for fundamental changes in human history. Pablo Neruda uses the apple tree to invoke a promise of spring to come:


Winter is yet gone,

and the apple tree appears…

In the night we shall go in

up to its trembling firmament,

and your little hands and mine

will steal the stars.


Trees in our daily lives even help us to celebrate and show our grief. Our dreams are permeated with trees. Many of our earliest childhood associations stem from play around them. Trees have given us the inspiration for court gardens. Fine arts and philosophy have benefitted from their presence. Native literature renews our kinship with trees as reflections of nature within ourselves.


Apples are a favorite ingredient in cookery for all occasions. These delicious East Indian Apple Jalebis are also referred to as fritters and sure to please!


Apple Jalebis

Makes about 16



2 apples peeled, cored and sliced into thin rings

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp dry yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp oil

Oil to fry



1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp sliced pistachios or blanched almonds



Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix flour and oil together. Add yeast solution to the flour and mix to a smooth batter (pancake batter consistency), adding water as needed. Set the batter in a warm place for half an hour. It should have a lacy appearance.



Heat one inch of oil in a frying pan. Put a drop of batter in the oil to check for sizzle. Dip the apple slices completely into the batter one at a time. Slowly transfer the slices to the frying pan. Fry jalebis in small batches, turning occasionally, until both sides are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, transferring to a serving platter. Garnish with cardamon, cinnamon, blanched sliced almonds or pistachios. Serve hot!


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