river talk

Forest finds and fineries

By SANDY LONG
Posted 5/26/21

“I was walkin’ through the woods one day, in the merry merry month of May....”

Yes, I’ve slightly adapted the song to suit my purpose here—to wake readers to …

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river talk

Forest finds and fineries

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“I was walkin’ through the woods one day, in the merry merry month of May....”

Yes, I’ve slightly adapted the song to suit my purpose here—to wake readers to awareness of what they might be missing in our enchanting forests at this time of year.

If you are not out and about, traipsing down a trail studded with bluets, turning your eyes skyward to spy on the emergence of leaves and blossoms, stumbling giddily through the heady rush of freshening air—you are missing the marvelous thing that is spring!

Recent rambles I’ve enjoyed in various forested locations throughout the Upper Delaware River region have not failed to foster the kind of rapture hinted at by the beloved poet Mary Oliver when she wrote, “Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forests of our lives.”

My enchantment with forests is currently being fanned by the work and insights of Dr. Suzanne Simard, the scientist who is breaking new ground in our understanding of trees and the communities within which they exist. Simard is the author of “Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.” (Listen to an in-depth interview with Simard in a podcast by Emergence Magazine at www.bit.ly/emergencemag21.)

Also worth viewing is the compelling documentary “Intelligent Trees” (www.intelligent-trees.com), featuring the work of both Simard and Peter Wohlleben (bestselling author of “The Hidden Life of Trees”). The thought-provoking film explores “how trees communicate and care for each other” and is currently available on Netflix.

 Of course, a forest community consists of far more than trees. In the unobserved depths below the parts of trees that we can see are fungal networks that knit together a communication system we are only beginning to understand. Above ground, the forest features things of delicate beauty, like the spring ephemerals peeking from the forest floor now and the animals spurred into action by the season’s advance.

Don’t deprive yourself of the uplifting experiences unique to spring. Heed Oliver’s invitation to receive the fineries of this energizing season: “Come with me into the woods, where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts....”

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