April 24, 2024

A Message from the Trees.

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There is so much more to listen to than the sound of my own voice.

It was one of those perfect childhood summer days that we all yearn for as adults.

I floated in the apartment pool looking up at a perfect bluebird sky. Occasional billowy white clouds floated by in shapes resembling dragons and tea kettles. The limbs of nearby oak trees provided shade from the hot noon day sun.

A gentle breeze rustling the leaves of the old oaks caught my attention. The wind itself had no voice of its own, but the sounds created by swaying trees translated the story.

I became acutely aware for the first time that all things are connected and depend on this connectivity for survival.

Current science is finally catching up to the discoveries of my young mind that day. Much research has and continues to be done on the underground communication between trees and other living things.

It is telling a fascinating story about how trees communicate through the use of mycelium and fungi to share nutrients, information, and even warnings of danger.

The older trees, the ones that have managed to survive the rigors of our changing environment, called the Mother Trees, are now being protected in many logging regions. It has been learned through the research of pioneers like Suzanne Simard and Hope Janeen that these stately trees protect the new saplings by providing the new growth with nutrients they cannot yet create for themselves, due to the overshadowing of the larger trees.

This communication and sharing is done through their own root system and the help of underground networks of fungi. This network even has a name: the wood wide web!

These wondrous trees are able to cooperate with each other just like humans do—or should do—by sharing information, recording past history, and assisting in future needs. They form inseparable bonds with all living things around them, increasing the survival rate for all. And they do this without judgement or discrimination. They give and take as need dictates, while at the same time giving the world their gifts of flowers and fruits, shade and beauty.

Now, as an adult,  I lie on the grass looking up through the branches of one of those Mother Trees. The rustling leaves give voice to the wind and they share their secrets with me and I have another epiphany.

Perhaps , if we only listen, the trees will be the ones to save us instead of the other way around.


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