The Hidden Life of Trees


Vicar and BrideThis report is committed to my daughter and son-in-law, Hannah and James, as they strategy their very first wedding anniversary. Under are the words of the address I gave on their wedding day…

Nowadays is a important step in our collective loved ones trees.   So what I would like to reflect on for a moment is just that – trees. I know that sounds strange but please hear me out.

We possibly all know that trees are alchemists. By way of photosynthesis, they build oxygen and glucose— each developing blocks of life. Trees are necessary to the atmosphere and great for our well being. But did you know there’s a hidden life of trees?

That is the title of a current book by Peter Wohlleben, ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. For most of his skilled life as a forrester, Wohlleben sized up trees and their worth by what income they could yield. And then he became an arborist, a specialist tree surgeon, in a forest in Germany. This encounter fundamentally changed his understanding of trees.

One particular day Wohlleben stumbled across a patch of what he believed was strange-hunting mossy stones. Lifting the moss, what he discovered wasn’t stone at all but ancient tree bark firmly rooted to the ground. He scraped a portion and beneath the bark was a sheath of green, the colour of chlorophyll—something that can be stored in reserve in the trunks of living trees.

Wohlleben knew the tree had been felled more than 400 years ago.

  • Can you see what was strange about this?
  • How to account for the green chlorophyll?!?

Wohlleben wrote in his book:

“It was clear that a thing else was taking place, this stump should be receiving help from the roots of neighbouring trees, the surrounding trees have been pumping glucose to the ancient stump of this tree to hold it alive.”

With this discovery a door opened in Wohlleben’s thoughts. Wohlleben now sees trees not as so a lot wood for profit, nor as stand-alone entities in competitors for survival, but as members of an interdependent social network. Just like a loved ones, or a neighborhood – trees assist every other to reside and develop.

Wohlleben observed that seedlings in the shade and trees starved of meals are helped by getting nutrients from bigger photosynthesizing trees – even of unique species. But we do not see it for the reason that this assist is hidden beneath the ground in the intermingling root systems. This is the hidden life of trees.

The book has turn out to be an international ideal-seller and not just amongst foresters. A lot of study it as a commentary on human beings. We also are folks but we are also connected and rely to some degree upon these connections for our properly-getting.

I think that principle is celebrated as we come with each other with Hannah and James on their wedding day.

It is not mainly their individuality we are celebrating nowadays. But their partnership and their interconnection with a single an additional and with every of us as loved ones and buddies, and how these items could contribute to the well being and properly-getting of all – each nowadays and for the future.

Like trees, our interconnections can bring properly-getting to all. Hannah and James are planting their lives firmly in that vision nowadays as they make their marriage vows to every other.

In several religions there is mention of a ‘Tree of Life’ and in the Christian Bible this is also accurate. In Revelation 22:two it says,

“The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

I appear at this verse now in a unique way as I feel of the hidden life of trees.

Exactly where will Hannah and James develop from right here? I do not know.

But could God bless them and assist them develop with each other, and us with them. This is my prayer and Wohlleben’s book is my wedding present to them – which some may see as just an additional gardener’s book.

But some could perceive as a manual on the loving and caring connections we can make for the properly-getting of all – particularly these of us who now know about the hidden life of trees…

Tree Cross



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