My father was a self-proclaimed atheist, but he had a secret place of worship beneath the trees. His temple, an old army cot dragged under a massive avocado tree he named Susan. Her branches, heavy and abundant, leaned close and enveloped him, offering protection from the world outside. His religious canon varied, but Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemmingway, and John Steinbeck come to mind. In that hushed green sanctuary with his sacramental whiskey bottle, surrounded by words of power, he found peace. Throughout my childhood, other trees received his affection as well: our orchard’s fruit trees. They were adored and sung to, these carefully grafted peach, apricot, and Valencia orange trees. They held his fascination like no human could, and I envied them. Eventually I grew to admire Dad’s love of green things; he passed this quality on to me.