10 Trees from a Dream
There's a dryad (a.k.a., wood nymph) who wants you to plant some trees. Or so goes the tale that I weave in Peasant's Dream, a fantasy novel that I started while I was stationed in England with the US Air Force, "way back when" in the mid-1980s. The dryad and her desire to have you plant trees is actually a minor part of the tale, but it's relevant to something I always planned to include in the back of the novel if it was published. Of course, when I wrote it I had no idea what digital self-publishing would look like today.
Decades later, I have recently decided to take an unusual (for me) route to publishing Peasant's Dream, and in conjunction with that I'm going to make you a special offer, right here in this blog post. The inspiration for this goes even further back in time, to my being introduced to Esperanto by the Stainless Steel Rat books of Harry Harrison. Read on for the details!
If you've ever read the Stainless Steel Rat books, you probably found in the back of the book an offer to get a few free lessons in Esperanto, a "constructed" language which those stories introduce to readers. Not only did I request those lessons for myself (mi kredas Esperanto estas bona ideo — even though I never studied it enough to use it), I was also inspired to put an offer in the back of one of my books to support something important to me. I grew up hiking, camping, and otherwise spending time outdoors, and about half of the land my parents owned when I was growing up was forested, so trees have always been important to me.
While it is difficult or impossible to get a current and accurate estimate of actual global forest health, it is generally understood that our planet is undergoing a net loss of hundreds of square kilometers of forest... every day. That's been true for many years, so Earth has lost a very large number of trees just in the relatively-short span of my life. I started planting trees when I was fairly young, and some of those are quite tall now, but overall my efforts alone aren't big enough to be meaningful. However, if I could recruit others to join me in tree planting, and if they could recruit even more people, and if the ripples continued outward, perhaps an effort I began could eventually be big enough to meaningfully counteract ongoing global deforestation. It wouldn't solve the problem, but it would make more of an impact than I could manage on my own.
Even if I can't do much to stem the net loss of trees worldwide, planting trees makes a difference at the local level. Trees provide beauty, natural cooling, fuel, erosion control, wildlife habitat, food, and more. Maybe you've never thought about planting a tree, or maybe you've thought about it but you lack the opportunity. That's where the Arbor Day Foundation comes in, providing guidance and leadership to those unfamiliar with planting trees, and planting trees on behalf of those unable to do so directly. They explain the many benefits of trees, provide help with identification and the planting & care of trees, sell trees if you want to plant your own, and have trees planted for you if you can't or don't want to do that yourself.
The Dryad's Choice
At an important part of Peasant's Dream, the dryad makes a choice that relates to ensuring that more trees are planted every year. I don't want to give out any spoilers, but what I originally wanted to include in the back of the book (and may still include there) is a suggestion that the reader "help her" by planting trees in the real world by getting involved with the Arbor Day Foundation. This is at the heart of the deal I'm offering.
If you join the Arbor Day Foundation and either receive 10 trees to plant, or have 10 trees planted for you in a forest in need, I will give you Peasant's Dream for free.
I haven't finalized the price for the book, nor do I have a release date yet, but it won't be free for everyone. It won't be 99 cents, either, so this is better than the offer I posted a couple years ago. You will receive your copy for free if you show me proof that you joined the Arbor Day Foundation. Unlike that earlier offer, this offer is not limited to just this month — it is valid until I say otherwise. There's a good chance the book will only be published in electronic form (i.e., no print edition), so this offer is for the e-book in the format of your choice (Kindle, ePUB, etc.).
I don't have a formal process for this, and I probably can't develop one without the help of the Arbor Day Foundation (which would be nice, but I don't expect it). Once you've shared with me something that allows me to be confident you have joined the foundation, and you've told me which e-book format you prefer as well as the email address to which I should send it, I will add you to the list of people to receive a free copy.
Since the title of this blog post might have made you think this would be about ten specific trees, the following are ten of my favorite tree types. You'll notice this list is mostly a mix of evergreens and food-bearing deciduous trees. These links will open in a separate, shared window or tab and all of the linked pages are hosted by the Arbor Day Foundation where you can buy these trees to plant and grow near you:
- Douglas Fir
- Maple (any variety)
- Cedar (any variety)
- Apple (any variety)
- Colorado Blue Spruce
- Bartlett Pear
- Lodgepole Pine
- Chestnut (any variety)
- Giant Sequoia
- Black Walnut
Even if you don't join the Arbor Day Foundation, I hope you will visit their site and acquaint yourself with the benefits of trees. If you already own land with trees on it, the site will help you maximize your property value by properly caring for your trees. You might also want to follow @arborday on Twitter. And if you manage, one way or another, to plant at least one tree, the dryad and I thank you!
About the Author
Stuart J. Whitmore is an author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a photographer, technology developer, and more. If you enjoy reading his blog posts, you might also enjoy reading his books. Take a look at the books by Stuart J. Whitmore today, and download your copy of one that looks interesting to you!