Trees = Scary
Apparently I am not the only person who is a little bit scared of trees. After Googling “fear of trees,” I discovered that dendrophobia is pretty common, although not so common that my built-in dictionary recognizes the word. Here’s why trees creep me out: I find them to be merciless, savage predators of air, light, and space. Sure they seem benign in their cheery summer frocks, but when winter comes and they are shorn of their greenery, their true appearance emerges. The appearance of the undead. Because that’s what trees are in the winter – zombies. Not quite alive, not quite dead. They are living skeletons, the kinds of things you have to roll a pretty high number on a twenty-sided die to kill in Dungeons and Dragons.
People think a fear of trees is irrational because trees can’t hurt you but lots of scary things can’t hurt you: fire, for example. (I recognize that fire is a bad example because fire can actually hurt you quite badly but I couldn’t think of anything else. Water? Same thing, I guess) Besides, trees can hurt you. For example, a tree can fall on your face. A tree can also drop an acorn up your urethra if you are standing upside down and naked. If you don’t think that would be terrible, then maybe you’re the irrational one. A tree can also house the world’s largest snake, the anaconda, which can swallow a baby. Granted, in that scenario the anaconda is probably causing more harm than the tree, but the tree is enabling the anaconda which is just as bad.
Obviously one solution for people with dendrophobia is to undergo counseling and work to resolve this fear. The other solution is to chop down trees.
A lot of folks get bent out of shape over chopping down trees, especially old trees, but I’m of the opinion that it’s the old ones that should go first. Stuff isn’t meant to live for hundreds and hundreds of years; at a certain point, my feeling is “enough is enough.” For man to truly have dominion over the natural world I think it’s important that we put trees in their place. We shouldn’t protect them just because they’re old. After all, we don’t grant extra-special protection to people just because they’re old. Why should we do it for trees? In fact, the opposite is true. As a species, we recognize that as people get older, they get scarier, and as a result we let them die. The same standard should be applied to trees.
Furthermore, if we allow trees to keep growing unchecked, eventually they will block out all the available sunlight. We see this effect all the time in the Amazon rain forest. The tree canopy blocks out most of the available light, rendering vast stretches of forest sterile and lifeless. Yes, I recognize that some biologists will quibble with my description of the Amazon as “sterile” and “lifeless” but please keep in mind that most of these people have agendas.
One point tree huggers often raise is that trees make air. I will concede that a symbiotic relationship has evolved between carbon dioxide-loving people and carbon monoxide-loving trees. The stuff we exhale is the stuff they inhale. So be it. Now consider what would happen to people if there were no trees. I will tell you: humanity would be forced to make an evolutionary leap towards a species that does not require air. What would be the obvious byproduct of such an evolutionary leap? Interstellar planetary colonization. Ironically, cutting down all those “life-giving” trees may actually increase the chances of humanity’s survival by making it easier for us to leave Earth!
The final point I want to make is that dendrophobia need not interfere with anybody’s life. It certainly doesn’t impact mine any more than my other phobias: worms, spooky music, over-sized breasts. I have learned to accommodate all of these fears, just as I have learned to accept my fear of trees. I am not honestly suggesting we get rid of trees any more than I am suggesting we get rid of spooky music. Both provide a valuable service. But what I am suggesting is that we try to understand each other a little better so that the next time somebody says they have a fear of something, rather than calling them a pussy, you instead give that person comfort and a hug. Unless it is specifically hugs they are afraid of (aphenphosmphobia), in which case I would just stick with comfort.