I have always told my family, when I die, I want to be buried under a large tree, oak or cottonwood would be my choice. I want to rest in it’s eternal shade.
I’m reading a book, “If Trees Could Talk” by Holly Worton who says she can sense the earth’s energy from nature, and in particular trees who have lived hundreds or thousands of years. Wouldn’t it be delightful if these monoliths of old age could share with us their stories?
Now before you dismiss me as some crazy, weed smoking, hippie woman, here me out. I am none of the above, but I am attracted to all things to do with nature. We do know that shrubs and trees absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. A massive amount of the world’s oxygen comes from trees, without which, we might not survive.
I am drawn to the mountains and to forests in a way that soothes my soul. It calms and restores those turmoil of emotions all of us experience at times. A friend once told me when I had had a very bad day, to go for a walk. And, lo and behold, during my time on the trail among the leaves and trees, bark and ground, my energy changed. I firmly believe nature can turn that around.
The law of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed – only converted from one form of energy to another. This means that a system always has the same amount of energy, unless it’s added from the outside. The only way to use energy is to transform energy from one form to another. (University of Calgary, ENERGY EDUCATION)
Trees have the energy to convert what is toxic for us to breathe, into a life giving, and life sustaining energy that none of us can do without. Do their magical abilities stop with that? Are trees so simplistic they cannot transmute other forms of life sustaining energy?
I grew up in a household learning to draw and paint. My very earliest drawings were of trees. Simply because their lines and shapes were so easy, yet interesting. Their bark is a series of thick and thin lines which is what gives trees their dimension.
When I started writing, my first book, entitled, “The Tree who Painted the Sky”, (Library of Congress copyright), it was a story about a magical tree who discovered the creation of colors and how primary colors can be mixed to form all colors in the rainbow. Is it far fetched? Magic you say? Perhaps.
As we grow older, I believe we begin to see the world through skeptics eyes. Whether we are ridiculed for ideas that seem too far fetched, or whether our industrial education has taught us to believe only what we are told; we loose sight of possibilities beyond our explanation.
So, back to the Law of energy. We all know the reason we can walk on the earth is because of the pull of earth’s magnetic field and the law of gravity. Gravity is hugely underestimated in the importance it’s role plays in our lives. Imagine if we were all just floating around space with no way to weigh us down? Ridiculous, right?
That being said, consider, if you will, that a tree, who is firmly rooted in the ground, does not walk, or run of move in ways that changes it’s planting. It does not scamper or trudge through the street. It stays put. It abides. It abides in the earth and is firmly rooted in the earth’s magnetic field. It is strong. It’s roots bury deep within the ground. This unshakeable forbearance can teach us things we all need in this life. It can show us ways to transmute our chaotic energy into strength and perseverance. They do not fight or quarrel and can teach us about free flowing peaceful energy if we will just take the time to commune with the forces that drive these immeasurable creatures.
I am also reading another intriguing book entitled, “Entangled Life, by Merlin Shelldrake. It is the story of how fungi propagate with the help of their rooted neighbors. It is a complex systems of many ideas encompassing an interdisciplinary doctrine which benefits both living organisms. “Ulf Büntgen, a professor of geography at Cambridge, and the first to report the fruiting of a Périgord black truffle in the British Isles, told me. “It is microbiology, physiology, land management, agriculture, forestry, ecology, economy, and climate change. You really have to take a holistic perspective.” “— Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake
Fungi cannot exist without our trees. They are symbiotic when it comes to producing some of the worlds most delicious eatables as well as poisonous, toxic and medicinal varieties.
So, no, I’m not doing magic mushrooms, but let’s imagine for a second that as a human you can tune into the energy of a tree or a forest. What would it feel like. If you rest with your back against a tree, does it speak to you? Do you feel a supernatural kind of shiver that goes straight through to your heart? Do you feel love, kindness, peace? I do not feel like trees are capable of anything other than transferring their stillness, quiet, perseverance and and steadfastness to us. But in order to receive we must first, slow our pace, and give the natural world a chance to offer us what we need most during times of chaos or confusion.
There is a world renown design style termed Biophilic design which is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Used at both the building and city-scale, it is argued that this idea has health, environmental, and economic benefits for building occupants and urban environments, with few drawbacks.
This is not an idea that is fresh on the horizon. Biophilic design is something some of the best schools in the world employ according to a 2019 paper entitled, “The Impact of Biophilic Spaces on Student Success” This study is a collaboration of Craig Gaulden Davis, Morgan State University, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Terrapin Bright Green.
For example, The American School in Singapore is designed to not only mimic nature, but to give back to the local environment, some of which is shared in this exchange of biological forces. It is one of the most renown schools in the world at this time, all based on biophilic design.
Robust research has reinforced Edward O. Wilson’s Biophilia Hypothesis that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature (Wilson, 1984). Patterns in findings have emerged linking biophilic design with attention restoration to combat mental fatigue, with stress recovery, enhanced creativity, relaxation, and excitement.
Much of the research on Biophilic Design has focused on stress reduction as measured through heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels and psychological response. Another thread of research has focused on the cognitive response. As far back as the 1800s it had been theorized that the brain operates differently while experiencing nature (Olmsted, 1865). It was thought that when out in nature, the brain operates on a level of ‘soft fascination’. This eventually became the basis for Attention Restoration Theory (ART), (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989, Kaplan, 1995) which posited that portions of the prefrontal cortex quiet down while experiencing nature. After this mental pause, we have better cognitive capacity.
So, the next time you take a walk in the woods, or experience nature in any way, try this and see if your body and mind gain a whole new understanding of how nature helps each of us to blossom and grow, (pun intended)!
For more reading and how modern day is viewing the world of the forest, read here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mother-trees-are-intelligent-they-learn-and-remember/