Wise Trees, Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, 2017

This is a beautiful, coffee table sized photo essay about the imposing beauty of 50 trees from around the world. With a superb introduction by one of my favorite nature writers, Verlyn Klinkenborg, the book pairs a brief story about the tree with beautiful photographs. A wise tree is one which apparently is distinguished by three characteristics: age (one of the Bristlecone pines is over 4800 years old!), size (the aspen colony in Utah named Pando is 40,000 trees with over 106 acres of root system and has been around for an estimated 80,000 years), and use by humans. The latter category focuses largely on religious, burial, and other ritual uses in Asia and Africa. While one might question the authors’ selection of these particular 50 trees, the book succeeds in arousing one’s wonder at these incredible living things among us.