Have you ever watched the actions of mature trees as a storm begins to build in the distance? If you pay attention you may notice that the top branches of various trees lean towards each other and touch branches. I think of it as an expression of joy that rain is coming.For several years I lived in a small house at the bottom of a mountain in North Georgia. I learned to listen with all my senses and discovered that trees, plants, animals and fish – all have a language of their own.
If you listen with your heart instead of your ears, you will come to realize that the “silent forest” is not so silent after all. Limbs creak. Leaves rustle and drop to the ground. A group of leaves from one tree will reach out to another and “touch leaves.”
The largest tree in the group is generally what I would call “grandfather/grandmother tree.” This tree is touched on all sides by the branches of other trees. It seems that this tree appears to be protected from storms by the trees around it. I believe because it has lived to a ripe old age, it carries the history of the land beneath its feet and offers an appropriate immune system response to protect the other trees.
Even though I’ve moved back to noisy Atlanta, I’ve retained the ability to hear the trees and plants talk. They let me know when they are happy, or when they are distressed before they are cut down (they let me know about 3 days in advance). I will rest my hand on the trunk and thank them for the shade and beauty and love they have provided. I’ll let them know just how sad I am that they are being cut down. Trees are surprisingly stoic about being removed, by the way.
Many studies have shown that trees and plants communicate with sounds and signals, sharing immune system-building chemicals through underground fungal networks to keep each other strong and more resistant to disease.
“Not only do plants use airborne chemicals, they send signals underground, through their roots. Some make ultrasonic “clicking” sounds. What feels to us like a quiet day in the forest may in fact be a hurly-burly of wafting, pulsing, clicking plant-to-plant communication.” http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2014/04/29/307981803/plants-talk-plants-listen-here-s-how
Recently, my neighbor chose to sell her house to a developer, so the land could be leveled to make way for a new home. I was offered an opportunity to harvest some plants, which were located around the base of a bird bath. A new home for the plants was prepared with good soil, nutrition and plenty of H2O. I decided to keep the plants grouped in the same general area. After the flowers and herbs were planted, I noticed them begin to wave and touch and lean briefly against each other. It’s as if they were saying, “Hello friend, there you are.”
If you want to connect with trees, I would start with the largest one. Place the palms of your hands on the bark, or sit at the base of the tree and lean your back against it. Stop thinking. Close your eyes. Let go. Soon enough, you will get messages from the tree.
Here is an example of a father teaching his daughters to talk to trees in a different way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxqrSNbwj_8
I hope you get the opportunity to spend a little time outdoors contemplating nature in the days ahead.