The Hugging Tree

In relocating last year we learned that Idaho is known as the “Gem State,” and Boise is known as the “City of Trees.”

Ideal for “tree huggers” (and dog lovers and bicycle enthusiasts), one of our recent walks revealed that it’s also perfect for hugging trees!

Hugging tree

In the years I’ve been observing trees, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Notice how the left trunk seems to reach out and hug the trunk on the right.

Lifting you off your feet and whooshing the breath right out of you, it’s been noted on numerous occasions — by friends and family alike — that Len is a world class hugger.

Our son who’s coming for a visit in a few weeks has been put on notice: Be prepared to have the living daylights hugged out of you!

When was your last breath-whooshing hug?

© Laurie Buchanan

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66 thoughts on “The Hugging Tree

  1. I love the hugging tree! What’s most important is that people recognize it for being such, and are drawn to its symbolism. Hugs are a most beautiful gift – given out freely yet with a touch of vulnerability and strength, all in one. My last great hug was from one of my grandsons (4), who lives on the ‘other’ coast. After a too-short visit a few weeks ago, he hugged me at his level (around my knees) and said loudly, “I’m just going to hug and hug you and never let you go.” My heart twisted and squeezed and I, of course, never wanted him to let me go.

    • Roughwighting — “…yet with a touch of vulnerability and strength, all in one.” I love your wise observation. And of course the story of your grandson’s knee-height hug brought happy tears to my eyes 🙂

  2. Great picture, really amazing! As for hugs, my dog, Beano, jumps on me everyday and puts his paws on my shoulders and kisses me. I have a job to get him off: priceless!

  3. Great find, that hugging tree!
    As for personal ((Hugs)) way way too long! I was thinking just the other day it is time to do something about this lack of attention!

  4. That tree is amazing! I don’t know about THAT kind of hug, but yesterday, we met our daughter’s fiance’s parents for the first time (one of his three sets–it’s complicated). 🙂 Handshakes as we met, but hugs as we all left after lunch. I thought that was nice.

  5. My late mom was well known for hugging anyone she met. Her hugs were warm and filled with love. Miss those hugs so much now.
    I learned from Anne Linnea author of the book Keepers of the Trees (stories of folks across North America dedicated to trees) … the “protocol” for tree hugging. Ask for permission first! Then sit and commune with the tree. Old trees have amazing energy.

    • Audrey — yes, Yes, and YES again! I do all of the above with one exception. I lay on the ground underneath the tree so I can look up at the branches while being grounded on the earth coverings the tree’s roots 🙂

      • Love that addition Laurie . will definitely enjoy that practice next time!

  6. I have a friend named Jan who is an amazing hugger. She really shows everyone she meets how to hug with abandonment and love and delight. Thanks for the virtual hug this morning, Laurie, and Tree.

  7. You never cease to amaze me with your many parables from nature. Among the 18 oak trees hugging our house there are 2-3 double trees. Joined at the root, they are Siamese twins clinging to each other for dear life. Your photo is unique. I suppose one of your readers will try to identify the “animal” shape of the hugging tree.

    Sometimes Cliff gives me a breath-whooshing, back-cracking hug – chiropractic help and affection all in one! Enjoy your son’s visit.

  8. What a great tree. My husband and I are tree hugger and mourns their loss when they go down in a storm or are taken out by those who think shopping malls are more attractive and worthwhile than trees.

  9. My eldest grandson who is now thirteen and a head taller than me always asks for a “grandma size” hug at some point during my visit. What he gives is a long squeeze hug that is heart to heart affection. I was just visiting on the weekend and decided he likely will not grow out of these hugs. Lucky me 🙂

  10. For me, the safest place in the entire world is in my husband’s arms. When the world comes crashing down around me, his hug buoyeds me up. When the world sings, there’s no better way to celebrate then within his arms.
    Thank you for sharing the hugging tree.

  11. Hi Laurie,

    I have something of a reputation for my hugs (somewhat like Len I suspect).

    Often I have few words that make much sense to others, and I can communicate my empathy by enveloping another in my 7ft span and giving a firm (but not too tight) squeeze – and hold for as long as it seems appropriate – sometimes it may be many minutes, as it often seems to give permission for tears to flow and emotions to release.

  12. This is an amazing tree Laurie! I have been known to hug a few trees as they are simply beautiful energy. Still, hugging my beautiful family and children are the best.
    Karen 🙂

  13. Great tree, Laurie. I actually hugged a tree and my grandson at the same time this past weekend. We have a cherry tree in the back yard which I helped Owen climb so that he could see the cherries before the birds swoop in and eat them. My favorite hugs come from Owen and his sister Julia. And the memory of their arms around my neck lingers in the days (like now) just after they are gone.

    I read somewhere that if you hug for three whole seconds, your brain releases oxytocin. I believe it!

  14. Laurie, as soon as I saw your hugging tree I wanted to hug it too. The last truly meaningful hug I gave/received was this past Friday. My cousin and good friend Mike had just arrived home from Germany where he had gone to arrange for the remains of his young (20) son-in-law to be returned to Georgia to be interred at the Georgia National Cemetery here in Canton. The young man had been stationed in Germany and was living there with his pregnant wife when he was killed in an auto crash. Mike, a naturally joyous man, had no words to speak for a time, we just hugged until the emotions were leveled out and we could then sit and talk. There are times when a good hug can speak when no words are to be found. (((((Laurie)))))

    • Sandi – My heart is breaking for the family, friends, and unborn child of the young man who was killed in the accident. Your observation about times when a hug can speak when no worlds can be found is ever-so-true!

  15. Having a tiny little op today just to check I’m in tip top . Not looking forward to it as you can imagine so I’ve hugged the butcher, the baker , the candlestick maker. Anyone I can lay my hands on …I’ve had some very funny looks from my neighbours and seen them run off down the road when they see me approaching , I can’t think why .
    Hug a tree for me Laurie.
    Cherryx

  16. I just noticed the viburnum on the top of your ‘home page’–absolutely great photo of perhaps the greatest asset of that viburnum–very aristocratic, earned value in its leaves, buds and flowers. A pleasure to look at, thank you.

    • Flahertylandscape — I change the header photo each week so I’m glad you had the chance to see it. That viburnum is just down the street and I couldn’t resist capturing a shot. Thank you for noticing 🙂

  17. What a nice hugging tree! I had my latest breath-whooshing hug last month when I visited my son & fam. Can’t wait for the next one in a few weeks time 🙂

    • Tiny — I can hardly wait to get my around around my son. It’s been just over a year since we’ve seen him in person. I’m glad you’ve had the recent opportunity, with another one coming up soon. Mom’s need hugs from their children — grown and otherwise 🙂

  18. I actually have a tree that I hug every day and there is a little kissing spot like a mouth with lips on the bark that I kiss. It is the “witness tree” of my marriage to my husband. I’ve been known to hug on occasion other trees in our forest that have gotten my attention but this is the one that gets hugs from me consistently, almost daily. I always feel that I am hugging the Divine when I do that.

    I do appreciate the “character” of the hugging tree photo in your blog.

    My favorite human hugs are called melting hugs. One hugs until they feel the other release and then lets them go, does not prolong the hug beyond the other person’s comfort level but does not end the hug prematurely if an extended hug is needed.

    Wishing you the best hugs possible in life !!

  19. You can always count on Mother Nature to remind us of the most important things in life. Wonderful image and accompanying message Laurie! Thanks for sharing and best wishes for an inspired day 🙂

  20. My last one was actually this afternoon, when I gave my oldest daughter Melanie a vigorous embrace for her nineteenth birthday. 🙂

    What a great post, and I have never seen any tree configuration quite like the one you photographed here Laurie!! Simply arresting! And what a fabulous designation for Boise too!

  21. Now those are my kind of trees! There are a pair in Mately Wood in the New Forest a little like that and they always make me smile. Mind you, I’m usually lost round about then so seeing them is always a relief!

  22. My little four year old is really into hugging right now. Out of now where I will get a huge hug and I Love You mid playing, mid lecture, mid night time routine, etc. I hold him tight and enjoy theses moments, because I’m not sure when he will decide he is too cool for hugging or for mom.

  23. What a lovely hugging tree and it’s something we don’t all do enough..but I love my early morning one from my grandson he gives his old nan the best hugs and that one thing sets me up for the day…. 🙂

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