Wednesday, 6 February 2013

On the Hugging of Trees

People often ask me - why do we hug trees? And I always say to them - consider the alternatives.

Badgers bite, bees sting. If you hug a fish you will get wet. Snakes come in two varieties - ones you shouldn't hug because they might hug you back, and ones with venomous teeth.
Warning - do not eat

It's safest not to hug other Beaker people. By sheer chance, occasionally a Beaker Person might hug a suitable other Beaker Person (within the meaning of the Hugging Equality Act 2002), but the risks of being involved in a hug with the wrong kind of person are just too high. You might end up hugging someone you really wish you hadn't, or you might find that the person you're hugging takes out a court order against you.

Hugging telegraph poles is like hugging a tree, but there are four obvious reasons why you wouldn't:
a) They're not alive. They're dead trees.
b) They leak creosote
c) People who see you doing it will avoid you
d) Dogs have uses for them.

So you're down to trees, teddy bears and cuddly pets. In practice most pets aren't that cuddly - cuddle the Earless Beaker Bunny and you will have a future of being able to count to nine at most. Teddy bears have almost no religious purposes. Well, OK - just the one.

So that's why we hug trees. Trees represent the primeval earth-force, surging up into the sky - if deciduous, a symbol of dying and rising each year, while evergreens symbolise eternal life. Yggdrasil, the world-ash, joins heaven and earth. The oak speaks of strength, and the holly and the ivy - yeah, you know that one.

So we hug trees to affirm and be strengthened by their mystic connotations. And, as I've just illustrated, we actually have no alternatives.


  1. Bunnies are seriously mis-represented in modern culture as being cute and soft and fluffy. I very nearly ended up with nine fingers due to a childhood run-in with a bunny which was either vicious or allegedly incapable of distinguishing between a finger trying to pet it and a carrot. I vote for 'vicious'. I got little sympathy, either, just lots of questions about what I was doing in someone else's yard with someone else's bunnies in the first place.

  2. I find hugging people to be more satisfying than trees but I'll grant you there are significantly more risks involved..


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