Thomas Pakenham, The Remarkable Baobab
(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004), p. 9, quoting Michel Adanson, A Voyage to Senegal, the Isle of Goree and the River Gambia
, tr. anon. (London, 1759), pp. 96-97:
I laid aside all thoughts of sport, as soon as I perceived a tree of prodigious thickness, which drew my whole attention... I extended my arms, as wide as I possibly could, thirteen times, before I embraced its circumference; and for greater exactness, I measured it round with packthread, and found it to be sixty-five feet.
Henry Hitchings, Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), aka Dr Johnson's Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World
, p. 60:
Besides, there were more immediately analgesic rewards to be had from visiting the Strahans' home. In the courtyard stood a lime tree which Johnson, in moments of abstraction, liked to hug.
When Walt Whitman hugged trees, it was more like a bear hug than a tender embrace (Spring OverturesRecreations
, from Specimen Days
A solitary and pleasant sundown hour at the pond, exercising arms, chest, my whole body, by a tough oak sapling thick as my wrist, twelve feet highpulling and pushing, inspiring the good air. After I wrestle with the tree awhile, I can feel its young sap and virtue welling up out of the ground and tingling through me from crown to toe, like health's wine.
See also Whitman's The Oak and I
, from the same book:
I write this, 11 A.M., shelter'd under a dense oak by the bank, where I have taken refuge from a sudden rain. I came down here, (we had sulky drizzles all the morning, but an hour ago a lull,) for the before-mention'd daily and simple exercise I am fond ofto pull on that young hickory sapling out thereto sway and yield to its tough-limber upright stemhaply to get into my old sinews some of its elastic fibre and clear sap. I stand on the turf and take these health-pulls moderately and at intervals for nearly an hour, inhaling great draughts of fresh air. Wandering by the creek, I have three or four naturally favorable spots where I restbesides a chair I lug with me and use for more deliberate occasions. At other spots convenient I have selected, besides the hickory just named, strong and limber boughs of beech or holly, in easy-reaching distance, for my natural gymnasia, for arms, chest, trunk-muscles. I can soon feel the sap and sinew rising through me, like mercury to heat. I hold on boughs or slender trees caressingly there in the sun and shade, wrestle with their innocent stalwartnessand know the virtue thereof passes from them into me. (Or may-be we interchangemay-be the trees are more aware of it all than I ever thought.)