Enigma of Trees

September 4, 2007 at 1:45 pm 2 comments

October, 2005: Today, toward the end of our walk in the Botanic Gardens, we saw something that surprised us. It was an old Cypress Pine, one of the original ones from the mid-nineteenth century, and its trunk was old and stiff. Yet, its growth was still green. Last year in summer there had been a storm, knocking down some older trees whose roots had done their work, and since then new ones were planted amongst the many surviving ones. But this one was very old and had appeared to have found a mate.

In David Suzuki and Wayne Grady’s latest book called simply “Tree” , there are many facts that indicate trees in forests “commune”, not just in groups, but communicate, in order to preserve the good of the whole. They share root space and nutrients, across large areas of land, for they know they protect the life that depends on them for survival, the birds, insects, animals and also the understory from the ravages of too much sun. Trees actually link through their root systems, swap nutrients, and grow to accommodate each other.

This old cypress had a brand new growth, and we wondered what it was. It curved its smooth trunk up close, from the earth, right up the knarly older trunk, as if it were a ballast. The top of it was green with fresh Moreton Bay Fig leaves, nestled in a cheek to cheek dance with the older tree, quarter way up its tall height. These trees share space with the Cypress trees and have done so for over a century. It seemed a courteous arrangement for the younger shoot to oblige the older one, lending a hand to the trunk which we saw, on closer examination, had been damaged where a branch had broken off, perhaps from the summer storms. The tree had been in danger of falling over completely because of the missing branch.

Seemed to us this is what life is all about — and the enigma of trees.

(Taken from Lemurian Hermitage, Soul Food Cafe, copyright Monika Roleff 2005.)


Entry filed under: Sustainability.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. woodnymph  |  September 9, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you for this fascinating piece. I have admired Suzuki’s work for some time, but didn’t know about this new book. It sounds like a ‘must buy’ to me. I’m running out of bookcase room…what to do, when I have no more space in my Hobbit Hole for a new bookcase.


  • 2. imogen88  |  September 10, 2007 at 9:28 am

    No problems, Vi. You will love the book, and it’s a quick, though mind changing read. I never see plants and trees the same way again. It’s a revelation.


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Henry David Thoreau – Philosopher

"Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads."
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