Magic language.


Until about a year ago
I had a secret belief
Which the hyper-rational me hid
Because she could not hold it.
Growing up on the edge of a northern forest
Abutting tall pines and peeling birches
A place of shelter on the needled floor,
The scent of dried sheddings  giving rise to some dream-world travels,
The soft clatter of the needled limbs,
Convinced me that these,
My comforters, my sheltering towers
Were talking to each other.
My linguist self denied that this could be true
And yet, I knew, I knew that this was a community
With mothers and children
Leaning into one another
Encouraging growth
Making room for saplings
Resisting the “other”
The elms and oaks could not thrive there
Though birches seemed to be welcomed on the outskirts
Of this resined community.
But I spurned these childhood musings
No grown-up could possibly believe such things
Especially a godless being like me.
Silly dreams, child.
Silly dreams.
And yet, I could not abandon them.
I wrote poems about the tree communities
And every time I returned to the forest in Maine
The scent teased my rejection
Reminding me of my beloved home
As odors can often do.
Still, my linguist self said
That’s fine, but trees have no language
That’s a fantasy best put aside.
You know better.
And then, and then, like the burning bush
That spoke,
An ecologist, a scientist, a rational being like myself
Wrote his book
And put to rest my embarrassment and shame
For believing my wooded friends
Were talking and singing
To all who could hear.

Bev Hartford

Ref: The Hidden Life of Trees: What they feel; How they communicate. Discoveries from a Secret World.  Peter Wohlleben.2015. Greystone Press

Also check this out (thanks to Rebekah for finding it):


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