Part of the landscape’s mind – it’s memories, connections, rhythms – is…held in human consciousness ~ David George Haskell’s, The Songs of Trees.
When I found this place on Squam Lake 30 years ago, I fell in love with the old boathouse. It was on, really on, the lake. What I didn’t seem to notice at the time was – well – many things. For one: the boathouse was 100 years old. Therefore partly rotten. etc. Lots of stuff about the house passed right by me. And, incidentally, there were other buildings – two or three, depending on how you want to see them. All were suffering.
Utterly disregarded was the land itself. The garden. The trees. The woods. Okay, the garden. I did enjoy peaches the first year. (yay for peaches).
Gradually, over time, all this has changed.
But two years ago, a huge tree fell down. Loud bang. shaking earth. It missed a building by inches. The arborists came by: six or seven trees of that size were ready to tumble. I was concerned for the buildings, so all came down. Big beautiful old oaks.
Now – a year or so later, I’ve discovered a number of books, brilliant books about trees. They are nominally about trees. But not too deep in the subtext is how connected trees are to each other. And how connected we are to trees – not just for oxygen, but the microscopic world that underlies so much of living matter.
It’s an understanding I didn’t have when I saw the trees as threatening. Threatening to my buildings. The new paradigm is not me v. them, it’s Us. Trees/humans here for each other.
I now notice trees more than I ever have. And appreciate them. And want them to live out their lives. I see more and more how they are influenced by all that I /we as people do – now, then, going forward. So connected.
How much I care. How much I care about trees. What’s that famous line: how can there be a poem lovely as a tree?
Yes. Trees are beautiful. And trees are here to keep us breathing.
Come to think of it, we say that about art as well, right?