We Have a Vital Connection with Trees

A forest of trees by a river

Trees form a community

All of us have an important connection to forests. Knowing that connection helps us to understand how essential forests are to sustaining human life.

An excellent documentary, “Call of the Forest – the Forgotten Wisdom of Trees,” helps us to understand that connection. The film follows scientist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she explores the science, folklore and the challenges of restoring forests that are vital to our survival. In the documentary, she talks with several forest specialists.

To say that forests are vital to our survival might seem melodramatic, but Beresford-Kroeger believes it is true. She has spent many years of her life studying how forests help humans and other animals to survive.

In her book, To Speak for the Trees, published in 2019, she wrote, “I know that belief in the spiritual and scientific value of forests doesn’t have to remain at the fringes of our culture. It can be a mass movement; the interest is there, the people are ready – the youth are afraid, the children anxious. And it’s not too late to act.” (p. 180)

Long before humans came to be on the planet Earth, its atmosphere had concentrations of carbon dioxide too high to sustain human life, Beresford-Kroeger explained. Over many millions of years, plant life began to change on the planet. That change eventually led to the development of flowering trees. They put oxygen in our atmosphere. They also isolated carbon dioxide for their own use. Another way to say that is that trees sequester enough carbon dioxide so that humans can survive and thrive on the planet.

Today, if you stand in the sunshine after a lot of rain or snow, you may be able to feel a sense of connection with the trees. Raise your arms with your palms up. Tilt your head toward the sky and feel the sunshine on your face. The way you are standing is the way trees stand too. They spread their branches and leaves to the sky. That kind of standing, said Beresford-Kroeger in To Speak for the Trees, “is called the song of the universe. It is real. You can feel it for yourself.” (p. 190). The feeling of the sun on your skin connects you with the sun in this dance that helps to sustain life.

Try it sometime and see if you can feel the energy of that way of standing. If you get a chance, watch the documentary, “Call of the Forest – the Forgotten Wisdom of Trees.” You may discover that some of the trees in your own yard have medicinal value that can help to heal people of a variety of ailments.

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