ian - arboriculturist
It’s funny how a simple proposition like “is there a tree that I felt greatest connection with” could send me into such a long introspection. Not owning a tree or feeling that I have a sense of emotional connection to a tree does trouble me.
I suspect the answer is that I haven’t spent enough of my time in one place, feeling a little like a skimming stone in terms of my time in places, with a “when are we moving on” mentality. When I settled with Jo and had a small family no single tree stood in for the archetype of the perfect tree, but many trees have given me that feeling of awe, wonder and appreciation of the natural world. I was particularly taken by our first Autumn in Wotton under Edge, as the beech trees seemed so golden after moving out from Bristol.
These moments are spread out over much of my life in the various locations I have lived from North Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Buckingham, East Devon, Cheltenham and Harrow, plus the places I have loved trees (in passing) at Longleat, Assisi, Algonquin, Christchurch and Queenstown (urban trees). In many of these places I have taken photos of the landscapes and trees, but not with any plan in mind, other than to capture a moment, with a hope to return.
All these places have special trees, but I cannot say that it’s individual trees, more urban and country treescapes, that have left a lasting impression. Especially after becoming a tree officer for a local authority, you have a tendency to view trees with appreciation, but this is through a lens of the law, safety and tree work budget considerations.
I know this doesn’t fit your requirements or answer the question “which tree”, but perhaps it says something about my dilemma.