Location: Belmont Lake State Park, Long Island, New York
Scott Josephson, an engineer by trade, doesn’t yet consider himself a tree hugger, but says he’s getting closer.
“For a long time, I had heard the term ‘tree hugger’ and knew it was a phrase ascribed to nature lovers. In fact, I used to think it was kind of derogatory and I admire that you have taken it back to literally love nature by wrapping your arms around it,” he said.
In the picture, you will see Scott embracing a tree for the first time, and he clearly liked the experience. Scott grew up in a suburban home on Long Island surrounded by towering trees. Even though almost all of them are gone now, he has fond memories of them — most of which revolve around backyard baseball with his brother or playing catch. “A tree would often mark a base, or a certain play in the game like a ground-rule double,” he remembers. “Sometimes we’d hit the ball over a fence and have to climb it, or run around the corner and search through the neighbor’s overgrown shrubs to recover our only ball.”
Scott said he always felt a spiritual connection to nature, a feeling of being at home in a natural setting — whether it’s a desert or a forest. On a trip to Israel at the age of 16, he planted a sapling. “I think it was either an olive or a fig tree and I always wonder about what it looks like today.”
“Trees give so much to us and we give nothing in return. They provide shade, sustenance, nourishment, sanctuary, and comfort,” he added, which isn’t surprising given that one of his favorite books is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.
As a wine and music lover, Scott enjoys listening to “The Dreaming Tree” by Dave Matthews, and drinking the namesake wine, which is quite delicious.
Scott is an avid traveler and has visited 47 of the 50 states of the US. He hopes to hug more trees on his travels in the future. “I’d like to get in the habit of thanking nature and bonding with new trees that I encounter on the road, as well as those familiar, favorite trees that impact my life on a daily basis.”