The voice of the tree

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 08/08/2021

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A few days ago, I accidentally saw an excerpt from a documentary with the famous English actress Judi Dench (who at 86 is still thriving), which impressed me. Together with a scientist, they were in a forest and with the help of headphones and with a funnel instrument placed on the trunk of a tree, Judi was able to hear the tree’s body as it operated. At the same time, in the background, it sounded like a knot dripping at regular intervals. As the scientist explained, it was the water that was circulating in the tree. A large tree absorbs daily too many litres of water  to live. At that time, I heard for the first time, the heart of the tree beating, and I experienced the living existence of plants.

Then, he explained to her, that when a forest of pine trees is in danger because of parasites (meligra I think was the name) it emits a cloud of smell and in this way calls for help a swarm of ladybugs to eat the parasites. That is why we should not kill them with insecticides! They are the doctor and the medicine of nature in many cases.

We humans, the most sensitive of us, often recognize the life and affinity of our body with animals, but we almost never deal with the living status of plants.

Surely, in the old days, when all people were dealing with the land and growing plants, some of them would hear the cry of a tree while the lumberjack with his axe was cutting it. And others would feel the vibration of gratitude of the plant, when watering it. In a film I had seen a long time ago, the natives of Africa apologized to the plant when they cut its fruit to feed. They did the same thing when they killed an animal. That is harmony with nature. Recognition of the existence and right to life of all lining organisms.

The little personal experience I have, with taking care of my garden, confirms that the magical world of plants can give us joy and serenity. The care of a garden does not have as its sole ultimate purpose the creation of a beautiful environment. This is the consequence of a two-way love relationship, created when one decides to wade into the world of plants.

Our intelligence, and the power of our spirit, often makes us arrogant and greedy. And nature avenges us. We see it every day, with climate change and much more that we may not yet have understood.

Watching many documentaries, I have learned that even those that we consider completely lifeless, such as stones, pulsate inside because the molecules that they are consisted of and allow them to maintain their shape, are alive.

All nature and the universe around us consist of entities, the only thing that makes them different, is their degree of consciousness. We believe we are the greatest beings on this planet. And we may be. But we must be aware that the ocean is also alive, and its heart is pulsating, in very sparse but regular intervals, as in all beings. When we infect it – as we do every day – it has the mechanism to clean itself up, destroying our own intrusive achievements. These are not my personal opinions; they have documentation from scientists who study nature and look for the causes of the disasters that are happening around us.

Our planet is just as alive and can shake us off its back and wipe out our race when it feels threatened, as it is today.

So let us be humble and love all the organisms that surround us. It does not take much. Let us get the headphones out of our ears and listen to the sounds of nature. The Indians of America – we all saw them in many films – put their ear to the earth and listened to life around them. Let us smell the wonderful smells of nature and touch tenderly with our fingers the leaves of a plant. Let us taste the fruits. But above all, let us open our eyes to see the beauty! Nature gave us five senses to enjoy. We must not forget that. We must make the most of it.

Finally, I invoke the verses from George Seferis’s poem, Thursday, which express the repentance of man who did not become one with nature, and lost touch with completeness and happiness:

……………………………………
and yet I am sorry still because
I too didn’t become (as I would have wished)
Like the grass I heard sprouting
One night near a pine tree;

……………………………………….
(Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

 

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