It’s fitting, perhaps, that exactly one week after I walked among fog-shrouded pitch pines on the south ridge of Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park, I’m serving as last-minute Mistress of Ceremonies for this month’s Festival of the Trees. The previously scheduled hostess for the festival, Cindy of Woodsong, had to go to the hospital for emergency treatment of an eye infection that has turned life-threatening, so I’ve agreed to tend the trees in her stead. Please keep Cindy in your thoughts and prayers as she undergoes treatment (and thanks to Dave for his help in compiling these tree-themed submissions).

This month, tree-lovers across the United States were appalled to learn just how little some people value the trees in their back forty. The North Carolina landowners who cut down all their pine trees in order to eliminate habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, fearing that federal restrictions might damage their property values, were lambasted at The Voltage Gate, Thoughts From Kansas, and The Questionable Authority, among other blogs.

What are trees worth? A recent post at Ginkgo Dreams reproduces a fascinating quote from a local newspaper detailing one energy-conscious arborist’s estimate of the monetary value of a single yard tree. Even by this most reductionist of measurements, the answer is “a lot more than you might expect!”

Phil for Humanity urges us to plant better trees, especially fruit trees. At Arboreality, a new resident learns from an even newer resident to treasure the butternut tree in her yard.

Trees are valuable for all sorts of reasons. Go Beyond the Fields We Know for a detailed look at a work of art found hanging in a tree. Chances are, you too have seen such arboreal artworks.

Trees are sometimes the main attraction for tourists. Join Trevor’s Travels to visit a mangrove forest in Australia where you can keep your feet dry.

Alternatively, you could go Somewhere in NJ to visit the largest holly forest in the eastern United States, complete with prickly pear cacti, northern bayberries, and wonderfully gnarled, 170 year-old holly trees.

Here in New Hampshire, as elsewhere in the rural northeastern United States, we’re gearing up for the annual descent of the leaf peepers. On September 18, I noted the first hints of autumnal color already moving up through the understory, “a fitting overture to the symphony of color that will surge and crescendo over the coming weeks.”

Two weeks later, Roundrock Journal was reporting that in Missouri, too, The Turn Begins.

In Brazil, it’s the end of the dry season, says Sonia at Leaves of Grass, and the tabebuia trees — which shed their leaves, like many other dry-season deciduous species — are covered with glorious yellow blossoms.

Sometimes, a walk in the woods is an invaluable way to keep Body, Soul, and Spirit together. The path might take you under, over and around fallen trees. Other times, you might decide to imitate a squirrel and go straight up the trees.

Trees add flavor to life in more ways than one. In Pure Florida, where the bay trees grow, one clever dad turned mealtimes into an adventure with his instant legend about the wishing leaf.

Some people go nuts over trees. In Ranch Ramblins, with 200-300 walnut trees, you can understand why a post might be entitled Black Walnuts On My Mind. Stop by the ranch to learn everything you ever wanted to know about harvesting walnuts.

Speaking of nuts, few people alive today remember a time when the forests of eastern North America were full of huge chestnut trees, whose value as the premier source of durable lumber was exceeded only by their value as food for wildlife. The Voltage Gate helps us put the devastating chestnut blight in historical and evolutionary perspective.

We want trees to satisfy many of our needs, but often those needs collide. In one recent post, Walking the Berkshires tries to untangle the conflicting values that can make forestry issues so contentious, and calls for better forest management practices on private lands.

The Raven’s Gazette pays homage to one seldom-mentioned value of trees — especially big trees. You’ll have to click on the post to see what I’m talking about.

Of course, humans are far from the only creatures that value trees. The Firefly Forest takes us to the Sonora Desert Museum for a look at one, very rarely seen creature that can live anywhere from jungle to desert, as long as there’s dense shade.

Then there are gall insects. Witch hazels have two kinds of insects that trick them into doing their bidding, both aphids. And Niches has portrayed both of them, here and here.

As a recent post from the Dharma Bums reminds us, few creatures are as dependent on healthy forests as wild salmon. Robin Andrea depicts the end of the chum salmon’s long journey in words, pictures, and a short video.

Few trees would grow very well without fungal symbionts. Riverside Rambles offers an illustrated primer on the mushrooms of his neck of the woods, concluding with the not-so-symbiotic relationship between a sugar maple and the fungus that is eating it alive. Also on a maple tree — a dead one — Bev of Burning Silo found one big conk. And on several unidentified trees, frizzyLogic shares some amazing specimens of tree fungi in all their weirdly-shaped glory.

Termites, as we know, thrive on dead wood. Rigor Vitae offers an instructive look at the social hierarchy of these destructive insects.

Getting back to symbiosis, though, Birds Etcetera (aka Bird Stuff) has a great, short post on Birds and Trees: An Inseparable Attraction, distinguishing between commensalism and mutualism, with examples of each.

In what I guess would be an example of commensalism, Naturally Connected describes Connecting with a 600 Year Old Bald Cypress, and recommends a book and website to help others gain inspiration and spiritual sustenance from trees and forests.

One truly inspired artist, Jody Meredith, has a mind-blowing series of images of digital dendrology. “Piecing together over fifty photographs for each sample, each final image is a 100x magnification of a glimpse of life not seen by the human eye alone,” she writes. And as if that weren’t enough, she’s also posted photos of her Master’s Thesis project: a large model of the microscopic structure of American sycamore, fashioned entirely from branches of the same species.

Speaking of sycamores, a poem at Via Negativa looks at a sycamore tree through the eyes of a disabled veteran while just last month, Crafty Green Poet told a quintessentially Scottish ghost story in a poem called Corstorphine Sycamore.

Professional photographer Mark Cassino writes about the pleasures and challenges of taking pictures of trees – in this case, a huge cemetery maple and a scrubby birch forest, all under an overcast sky.

At Find Me A Bluebird, poet and singer-songwriter MB takes a lyrical look at the world through flickering leaves. Anyone who’s ever seen an aspen grove in autumn should be able to relate.

And finally, naturalist-writer Fred First of Fragments from Floyd draws a lesson from a found image in a Bartlett pear leaf: “At least some things are right with the world.”