Many years ago during the first lunar mission, I watched an earth-rise across the lunar horizon on television. It seemed profoundly significant that people all around the world were simultaneously sharing in this vision of our earth as one being, illuminated by the sun. Blue oceans, brown deserts and green jungles could be seen with white clouds streaming over it all. More recent aerial photography has revealed a few startling major circumstances. The desert areas are expanding and the jungles are shrinking at an alarming pace. What intrigued scientists the most, though, was the formation of clouds by forests. You can literally see clouds being born and lifting out of the forests and traveling around the world. In other words, lack of rain does not cause droughts and deserts, lack of forests do.
During our Canadian winters we can all see our own breath as we exhale. What we don’t see are the trees breathing. Our out-breath is tree un-breath and vice-versa. The trees are the lungs of this planet and a major organ in its biological system including the atmosphere. No sane person would cut out large portions of their own lungs for financial gain and no one would willingly pollute their own bloodstream or their children’s bloodstream with poisons for the experience of a privileged lifestyle. Yet this is precisely what we do to our shared body of the earth. The “tall standing people” silently record our choices in their leaves and bark and rings. The evidence is graphic and conclusive: our one-body, the earth, is sick. There is no answer to be found in technology, only in nature is self-healing a self-evident manifestation of the laws of creation. The earth will cure herself (and us) if we learn those laws and live in harmony with them.
Take a walk through a forest and feel and smell the changes in air quality as you move from stands of hardwoods into groves of pines and then into green meadows. If you have never been to an orchard, visit a “pick your own” farm, and walk among trees burgeoning with peaches, plums and apples. It is a moving experience to be among such bounty. Come back next spring when the orchards are in blossom and the aroma is intoxicating.
After reading Christine Dennis’ wonderful article the forests will appear different. Not only will one notice a greater range of species but one may begin to appreciate the tremendous variety of gifts and medicines and foods that are there. Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist, tells the story about the time he came upon a grove of trees and names the species to his guide. The medicine man/guide told Davis that there were in fact six “species”. After checking bark and leaf Davis could not find any difference and asked what the guide could see as a difference. The guide replied, “ they all sing different songs.” Would that we could have such understanding.
Modern Herbalism has discovered that ginkgo trees provide a medicine that improves our memory. Perhaps it is not some chemical in the leaves or blood flow in our brains that gives us our memory. Maybe its because ginkgo is one of the oldest living species on the earth and has the longest memory of life. Acquaint yourself with the “tall standing people” and they may lead you down paths of self-discovery.