Yeah. I've been thinking about trees. Don't get carried away - I'm not the Lorax, but I've been thinking about them a bunch.
We're getting our first big windstorms of the season, so the road up to our house is covered in fir needles and maple leaves and branches of various sizes. You almost can't see the actual road under all of it. Eventually the road sweeper truck will come by and clean it all up, but until then it's very... rustic...
So besides watching the trees wave back and forth in the storms, and thinking about the fact that I really do need to get to sweeping at least the walkway?
I've been thinking about this article, and specifically, this quote:
The forest comprehends. Com prehendere: “together” “catch hold of.” The forest grasps and knits many strands of understanding: biochemical, genetic, physiological, and cultural.
I love when people take words apart and decipher them to bring deep meanings to surface, like has been done here. Together, catch hold of. I wish we as a species together caught hold of so much more... It absolutely requires the full participation of the broad spectrum of diversity, though. The article goes on to point out that,
In Tennessee, conversion of oak-hickory forests to pine plantations about halves the number of bird species living in the forest, surely an indication that plantations come with an ecological cost in this region. But measures of forest biodiversity are like counts of neurons in a brain: They sketch a general pattern, telling us little about how losses of species or brain cells affect the intelligence of the whole.
HALVES. Tree plantations *half* the number of bird species in the forest. What else is it wiping out with it? Such a deep cost. I'm still very much in the process of digesting this article.
Then there was The Wisdom of Trees: Walt Whitman on What Our Silent Friends Teach Us About Being Rather Than Seeming from Maria Popova's Brain Pickings. In a world that's obsessed with appearing a particular way, a tree doesn't 'appear' to be anything other than exactly what it is. It's a tree. Just... don't make my quote it all, just go read it. It's an short read, but full of all kinds of good things to chew on.
And - forest as metaphor in folk and fairy tales. The forest is often the container for at least a part of the story - Red Riding Hood goes through the woods, Hansel and Gretel get abandoned in the woods (multiple times even!), King Arthur and his knights always seem to be traipsing through the forests, Baba Yaga lives in the forest, Robin Hood, and so on. The embodiment of some risk, some adventure, the unknown, opportunities and challenges and transformation.
And as I was thinking about that, serendipitously Andrew Simms starting off with this quote in We need new fairy stories and folk tales to guide us out of today’s dark woods,
With natural forces running amok and wolves prowling in the shady woods of our workplaces, reality seems stranger than a folk tale or fairy story. Our daily lives seem to have become as dark and disturbing as anything dreamed up by the brothers Grimm, or written down by Charles Perrault, the great 17th-century chronicler of folk and fairytales.
Sort of a segue into the folk and fairy tales we need, the stories and warnings that we need to be creating for ourselves and future generations.
Trees, trees, trees, and forests, the woods, a copse, weald, a grove... If I keep talking about trees, pretty soon the Lorax is going to show up and start telling me even more about them, and then I'm going to start rambling about how mushrooms and trees have a symbiotic relationship and from there who knows where we go?
Off into the woods, I suppose, on a grand adventure!
With sylvan love and curiosity,