The blade of grass may wither and petals fall from the flower, but the idea, “the word of the Lord…Gaia…endureth forever.
I know that all things are good when rightly used. I enter the game of living, then, with joyful anticipation, with spontaneous enthusiasm, and with the determination to play the game well and to enjoy it.”
For you time is never lost.
‘Perhaps because they have been our silent friends since the dawn of humanity and remain the oldest living things in the world, trees have been central to our ancient mythology and our sensemaking metaphors of science. So powerful is our bond that they can save our lives and we theirs.
That abiding bond is what Spanish multimedia storytelling of Kauri celebrates in the beautiful short film The Silent Friends.’
‘As the sun spilled over the face of the [tree], I realized that just as gravity will always pull things to the Earth’s center, the life-force of the Universe will always emanate from its center into the world.’
Like leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up and turns us ever so slowly toward the light. Our task is only to be rooted and patient.
Mysterious as it is – no matter our pain or excitement, our drama or circumstance – – all that we could hope for is here. We lack nothing.
Easter Island was the home to a thriving community, thousands of people living good lives.
One by one, though, the trees on this isolated island were cut down. They were cut down for fuel, or to make tools, or boats.
And finally, the last tree was gone. And the population went extinct. (Jared Diamond)
My question, though, isn’t really about the last tree. It’s about the second-to-last tree.
When someone cut it down, how did the community react? Were they afraid to speak up? Was it made clear that the social and societal costs of cutting down a tree were severe, so severe that no one would even contemplate cutting down the last tree?
And maybe they could have started this cultural norm with the third-to-last tree. Or even sooner.
Culture is the most powerful tool we have to change behavior. All around us we see people selfishly taking from the commons, eroding our standards, chopping down trees (real and metaphorical) we depend on.
What will we say the next time someone comes with an ax?
‘How do trees deal with injustice? They grow a branch whoever they were cut.’
‘Why do I keep running, when I have no interest in moving?’
‘Trees are thoughts without words.’
I envy the tree,
how it reaches
but never holds.
‘Things that matter come and go, but being touched and feeling life move on, we tend to cling and hold on, not wanting anything to change. Of course, this fails and things do change. Often, we are stubborn enough to go after what we think is leaving, trying to manipulate and control the flow of life. Of course, this fails, too.
We can’t stop life from flowing. So we are left with feeling what was and what is, and we call the difference loss. But all the clinging and holding on only makes it worse. Now, new things come, and some of us anticipate the loss and just let the things of life go by without feeling them at all.
I have done all these things, but when clear enough and open enough, I try to let things in, to let things touch me. I try not to poke and pull at them as they move through. It doesn’t eliminate loss, but when trusting enough to let this happen, I am tuned like a harp held up to the wind.’
“…they speak a sophisticated silent language, communicating complex information via smell, taste, and electrical impulses. […] The role forests play in making our world the kind of place where we want to live.” As we’re only just beginning to understand nonhuman consciousnesses, what emerges from Wohlleben’s revelatory reframing of our oldest companions is an invitation to see anew what we have spent eons taking for granted and, in this act of seeing, to care more deeply about these remarkable beings that make life on this planet we call home not only infinitely more pleasurable, but possible at all.”
“Why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance.”
“Every tree, every plant, has a spirit. People may say that the plant has no mind. I tell them that the plant is alive & conscious. A plant may not talk, but there is a spirit in it that is conscious, that sees everything, which is the soul of the plant, its essence, what makes it alive. The channels through which the water & sap move are the veins of the spirit.”
– Pablo Amaringo