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Today people are living in a jet-age, in a world of high tech and industry where most of their deeds are dictated by financial profit and material needs of a comfortable life. Being obsessed by the desire of self-enrichment, people do not take into account the place they live in, and often forget that their actions can cause harm to the world around them. That is why the work that nature protection organizations and their volunteers do play a significant role in preserving the nature from hasty steps of mankind.

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Speaking about the environment protection, there are many people, unfortunately mostly anonymous, who did a lot to attract the attention of the authorities to this problem, but there is one person who remains well known till today. Her name is Julia “Butterfly” Hill and she is famous for her two-year sit in a huge Redwood tree which she called Luna. Back then in the late 90’s, it was a sensational case. It was her way of protest against cutting this tree down by the local lumber company, and Julia succeeded. By her in-tree sitting, she made everyone pay attention to the problem bigger than just cutting down one particular tree. Being started with a small work, she grew into wide activities focused not only on saving and preserving the woods all around the United States or organizing the actions of protest, bu also on founding various non-profit nature-conservation organizations as Circle of Life Foundation. 

In my opinion, Julia Hill’s tree sit is a remarkable feat of a person not indifferent to what happens in the world around her. It was an example of how one ordinary person, being inspired by the lofty idea, could do something extraordinary. Someone may say that such actions of people who care is just a spectacular move, designed to attract attention to them. However, in the case of Julia, it was probably the only way to attract public attention to the issue raised by her.

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Julia’s decision to climb a tree is a manifestation of the strong will and determination to reach the goal. During her sit, Julia weathered cold rains as well as El Nino hurricane winds and attacks of both angry loggers and security guards. Few people are ready to make something like this in order to achieve their goal of voluntary help to a single tree, while undergoing much inconvenience and sacrificing their own comfort and safety.

In her speech at the Mount Mercy University Chapel, Julia Hill mentioned that everyone has his or her symbolic tree to sit in. If take her words literally, I think it means that each person can find a tree that is “related” to him or her, or symbolizes some significant features of a person’s character. If so, I think that my tree is a maple. For me, it is a symbol of strength and persistence as maples can grow in a rather cold climate and the tree itself looks steady and strong. Also it symbolizes friendliness and joy by its vast branches and the way sun rays flicker between the leaves.

On the other hand, Julia’s words can have the other side, meaning that the symbolic tree is the goal of a person’s life. When she says that each of us has to find his or her own tree to sit in, it means that we have to figure out what the main goal of our life is and stick to it. People have to devote their lives to something that is truly important to them instead of being important to somebody else. When such goal is found and one feels exhilarated by reaching it, the way to the top is like a tree with lots of branches. On the way one steps from one opportunity to another as if climbing on branches, from one challenge to another, changing himself and the world around for good.

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This tree is what I am still looking for because it is not easy sometimes to figure out what is really significant in life. I am sure that there is no need to hurry. Life will show the way to my tree when time comes, and what I am doing now is just exploring the magnificent forest of chances and challenges of life.

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