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The Singing Forest

The man walked deep into the forest for many days until he found a tree he thought might be the oldest. He planned to extract a sample using a core drill, to enable him to count its rings and date it, but the drill didn't work. For some days he tried to fix it, without success. He also had a saw and he looked at the tree; he thought about the long walk back to get another core drill, and about the importance of his research.

So he cut down the tree and dated it. It was 4,000years old  enough to have lived through most of known human history. When Moses was a baby, this tree was already 500 years old.

People have different relationships with nature. Some, like the man in this story, don't treat it with the respect it deserves, making it a sacrifice to the human ego. Others claim that plants have intelligence, soul and the capacity to communicate, and would no more cut down an ancient tree than cut down a grandmother.

Attitudes differ. Some people hear the forest sing and some don't.

One hundred and forty million years ago most of the northern hemisphere was covered in redwood and other trees. mankind made its appearance maybe 200,000 years ago and has, especially in the last two hundred years, remorselessly cut the forest down.

As early as 1905 American Congressman William Kent, and his wife Elizabeth  recognized the potential ecological danger, and bought 295 acres of redwood forest  in California, for $45,000. naming it 'Muir Woods' after the conservationist John Muir. He wrote to the Kents 'you have done me a great honor, and I am proud of it'.

We owe thanks to them all because today 'Muir Woods' is one of the few remaining enclaves  where you can stand amongst these magnificent trees  without hearing the sound  of a distant saw indictating that claer-out logging is heading your way.

It is a humbling experience to stand under ancient redwood trees . In Muir Woods I felt like a three year old in the presence of a vey large, old and wise men, in awe yet certain I would be completely protected . I did not want to leave their presence. Leaning on a Red Wood that extended too high into the sky for me to see its top, I felt the energy flooding into me, a cosmic river of refreshment for the soul. 

I heard the drone of a distant saw but knew in this protected forest island it must only be someone cutting deadwood and undergrowth, to clear the ground. Even so, it reminded me of other areas of the world  where international logging consortiums, are destroying huge areas of precious forest, and I felt an overwhelming emotion of sadness and guilt.

I apologised to the trees on behalf of human beings . Strange as it may seem  the trees spoke to me, directly, without voice, from their heart to mine. They conveyed to me their resignation, deep sadness and incomprehension as to why we should want to do such things.To someone living in a large city, a long way away from trees, having a conversation with a tree might seem an odd thing to do. But when you are actually out amongst them it seems the most natural thing in the world. I can fully understand why traditional native Americans, when planning to cut down a tree to make a totem pole or boat, asked permission, and gave thanks directly to the tree making a sacrifice.

My love of trees started when I lived in Switzerland and used to take my dog for a walk in the forest late at night. When the moon and stars illuminated our path we walked on and on, for my pleasure rather than the gog's convenience as the silence and the makesty of the forest filled me with feelings of reassurance and gratitude.

It was there, high in the mouintains that I first sensed the living connection between the night sky, the trees and the earth. Many years later, in ancient and cedar forests in North America, this impression was reinforced. Standing under a thick canopy of stars illuminating the the sky, I sensed that trees, particularly very tall , ancient trees, act in some way as planetary antennae.

The very tops of the trees seem to attract starlight and other cosmic energies, 'earthing' that energy as it travels down through the trunk, into the roots and the earth. I also wonder if the trees don't also transmit information back into the sky, sending vibrational energy, including human thought energy, out into the cosmos. I have no scientific proof, of course, but the thought remains: these giant trees  are recievers and transmitters jof energy, crucial even to cosmic balance  and human spiritual growth.

Anyone who studies trees knows that there is still a great deal to learn about them, especially in terms of energy and communication. Even in terms of mechanics and chemistry, areas we think we know so much about , new discoveries are being made  all the time. Scientists of British Columbia Ministry of Forests only recently found that certain  tree species  can share resources by using an underground  network of fungal threads .

Seedlings of the  Douglas fir, paper birch and western red cedar were subjected  to carbon dioxide containing  different carbo isotopes .

Two years later, 10 per cent of the carbon-type fed  to the birch was found in the fir. Both species share mycorrhizal fungi, which created the network of threads  between them, and the carbon travelled along this complete connection.

Because this same fungus dopes not connect with cedar, its particular experimental carbon composition  was unaffected. Meanwhile in Kenya, scientists have discovered that a well as sucking water up from the deep earth 'substancial ' amounts of water is transported downwards by the trees, to the dry subsurface .

These are pretty fundemental discoveries, which tell us a great deal about the working of trees we did not know before, in an area - the mechanical - we thought we aready understood. 

Reference: Fragrant Heavens/valerie Worwood

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