A few months ago I heard a scientist, Peter Wohlleben, being interviewed on RN telling us of a book he has written called The Hidden Life of Trees. The title alerted me and I was immediately interested when I realized that this was no dry scientific treatise. It is an invitation to come to really know and love trees in a whole new way.
He was speaking of the need trees have to form communities and the many ways they can cooperate and look out for one another. He was using words such as friendship, and ability to feel and also to learn as they grow. He speaks of them as social beings, capable of sharing food with their own species.
It has also been observed that they can communicate via scent, using it to forewarn nearby relatives when a browsing four-legged enemy is approaching – or to send out messages when water is running low! And so much more!
What delighted me was that he spoke and wrote so intuitively, right and left brain so much in harmony, yet so much of the understanding that had been gathered over years came from scientific observation and with wonderful results. Trees, – whole forests of trees come alive on every page.
He explained that with trees it is the root that is the brain and where experiences can be stored – It is in charge of all chemical activity and that these electrical impulses can be measured. An example is when root tips hit stones or something toxic, and this information is transmitted and adjusts the direction of growth.
The more I heard the more it reminded me of what the Bamboo Deva had explained to me.in a teaching I received on an intuitive level years ago about the nature of the bamboo species, not just how we could relate to it, but also much about mutual relationships between members of the plant kingdom, using the Eucalypts as an example. I included this story in my blog many months ago and I would love you to check it out as well as reading Peter’s book and see if you agree and link the connections.
Another author who writes beautifully about trees is David George Haskell, a professor of biology and environmental studies who has written “The Forest Unseen” and “The Song of Trees – Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors.” I’m looking forward to hearing him speak at the Byron Bay Writers Festival N.S.W. in August.
He has written that “To be able wrap other people into my relationship with the tree, and the tree into my relationship with other people – it is very enriching.” .
This is a sentiment that I resonate with in relation to the plant kingdom in general, and which prompted me to write the series on my blog which I called “growing my love of Nature through my gardens“, particularly the chapter on Bellingen in which trees often feature as some of the main characters.
Professor E.O.Wilson, a wise Elder- also a biologist, naturalist and author, has identified a new genre of nature writing located between science and poetry in which the invisible appear, the small become larger, and the immense complexity and beauty of Life are more closely revealed.”
We live in exciting times when we are finally beginning to see scientific knowledge combining with an intuitive relationship with nature, and matched with the ability to convey this in words! Alleluia!
Recently a friend reminded me that In his book “My Island Home” Tim Winton quotes a poem spoken by Kakadu elder Big Bill Neidjie, who had been a buffalo hunter, luggerman and mill worker in his younger days.
He was the last surviving speaker of the Gaagudju language and in his later life he was an inspirational leader. In my mind, he was a mystic.
Tim had noted that “here, surely, is a voice we should attend to.” (p.234.)
“I love it tree because e love me too.
E watching me same as you
tree e working with your body, my body,
e working with us.
While you sleep e working.
Daylight, when you walking around, e work too.
That tree, grass….. that all like our father.
Dirt, earth, I sleep with this earth.
Grass ….. just like your brother.
In my blood in my arm this grass.
This dirt for us because we’ll be dead,
we’ll be going this earth.
This the story now.”
Pillars amongst the rocks
A gum tree fit to swing from.
A giant in the Ottway forest