Many Israelis will be out planting trees over the next few days in honour of the festival of Tu B’Shvat and continuing the over one hundred year old tradition started by the Jewish National Fund which has resulted in Israel being able to lay claim to the very rare achievement of entering the 21st century with more trees than it had 100 years previously.
But not only organised and ‘official’ tree planting takes place at this time of year. Thirty eight years ago the little forest in the picture below did not exist, but year after year members and children from my kibbutz planted trees there both on Tu B’Shvat and, according to our local tradition, each time a couple got married here. Several times the forest was severely damaged by bushfires, so we planted more trees. Today it has a life of its own, with birds, badgers and other wild-life as well as wild flowers and children building dens.
Of course tree planting demands much time, patience and nurturing before it is possible to enjoy the results. Sometimes, in the face of adverse weather or blight, one has to conjure up a lot of belief that it will be worth it one day and the fruits will come, but with perseverance they do.
Our little CiF Watch acorn which we planted 18 months ago is something similar.
Happy Tu B’Shvat (New Year for trees) to all our readers.