There was a magic moment, one summer day long past, when a flash realization hit me. I was bicycling down a beautiful avenue, lushly lined with mature trees, and it was blatantly clear – they were reaching out for each other across the road.
“Hey, the trees are talking to each other!”
It wasn’t just that the branches were growing over the road. The massive old trunks were bending towards the trees on the other side, and the upper branches from each side interlaced over the road, as if the trees were holding hands. The trees formed an almost perfect continuous arch over the road. There was something magical and almost sacred about it.
Ah-ha, I thought, trees talk to each other. It was more of an intuition than a thought, and deep down I knew I was right. I mentioned this to a few friends, who of course gently told me I was crazy.
Majesty of the old redwoods in Muir Woods
Flash forward a few years, and I had the privilege of visiting Muir Woods in California. The majesty of the old redwoods took my breath away. I was awe struck! Although a fairly recent Humboldt State University research study showed they are not quite as old as previously thought, hundreds if not thousands of years is still a darned long time. As I gazed upward to the distant canopy, I wondered, What have you seen? What do you know?
Scientific research reveals the secret life of trees
Apparently other people with the same sorts of crazy intuitions have acted on them. Ecologist Suzanne Simard’s career evolved out of an accident with her dog, which uncovered a fascinating underground tree root system. She got hooked on trees, and for the past 30 years has made her career researching them. This is a fascinating read about her journey and findings: Trees Talk to Each Other in a Language We Can Learn
A short quote from the article: “Trees are much more like us humans that you may think. They are extremely social and depend on each other for their survival. Communication is vital, and a massive web of hair-like mushroom roots transmit secret messages between trees, triggering them to share nutrients and water with those in need.”
Other researchers worldwide are revealing similar findings. So, it seems, I am not so crazy after all… And I’m thinking, we could learn a lot from trees about the value of community.
For more on the magic of trees, see my post Forest Bathing.
Photo courtesy Bruce Getty, Pexels
Tree Secrets © Susan L Hart