Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about trees. It started with an article I read about the surprising behavior of trees. A German forest ranger concluded that like humans, trees are social beings and talk to each other—sharing resources, nursing sick neighbors, and warning each other of danger.
My interest in trees was piqued further by ecologist Suzanne Simard’s TED talk which makes a convincing case that a “forest is much more than what you see.” Her research has concluded there are intricate pathways underground enabling trees to communicate with each other to increase the resilience of the whole community. She’s also found mother trees recognize their own kin and send wisdom down to the next generation.
It’s only natural during a recent run in Forest Park, I reflected on my new-found tree wisdom and couldn’t help but think about these gentle giants differently. What do they hear? What do they see? What do they think of us?
Some people may question the anthropomorphizing of trees, but I’m a believer. I believe life exits on others planets, life is better with a dog, all the good ideas are not taken, and you can never add too much garlic. And yes, I also believe a forest is much more than a collection of trees.
As I was running yesterday on the Pacific Crest Trail near Mt. Hood I was surrounded by beautiful towering trees. I ruminated over the words of writer and conservationist, Ilan Shamir, who offers human advice from the perspective of our many natural wonders, including trees. Here’s my adapted and borrowed version of his provocative words.
Advice from Trees:
- Stand tall
- Be Flexible
- Play outside as much as possible
- Life is rarely a straight line – enjoy the journey
- Root for others
- Magic can happen when you go out on a limb
- Embrace diversity
- Drink plenty of water
- Soak up the sun (but not too much)
- Take care of each other
- Respect nature
My message here is we all need to be better stewards of ourselves, each other, and the environment. What advice would you add to the list? Share your thoughts.