Saturday, December 8, 2012



This morning on NPR there was an article about the Archangel Ancient Tree Archhive, which collects specimens of some of the world's hardiest and most ancient trees and replants them where they have a chance of flourishing, despite climate change.

I think trees are holy.  Sounds nuts I guess, but too bad.

Trees are the most giving beings I know.  There is so much to say I don't know where to start.

First, they are pillars connecting Earth and Sky, living pillars.  Second, they are Literally part of our lungs.  They give us oxygen and thrive on the CO2 we over-emit. 

Third, they heat the homes of the poor, as charcoal or wood.  In this way too they keep humans both warmer and fed, by cooking our food over their bodies.

And of course, they are home, shelter, and food for numberless species of beings.

There is a children's book called "Song of the Trees" which I no longer have.  I think the author's name was Mildred Taylor or Tailor. It's about an African American family in the South, I think during the Depression.  They own some land with ancient oaks and other trees.  The daughter in this story realizes that these very trees witnessed slavery and hid runaway slaves.  They knew Native people before slaves were ripped from their homelands and forced onto this continent.

I think of trees in the same way.  If we could once again learn to understand them then Each ancient tree would be a library of stories.  They could tell us not only about human history in the Americas, but about the characters of all the beings they used to know, like the Carolina Parakete, which fed primarily on cocle burs.  Ever wish That bird was still with us?  What was its song like?

Here in the Ozarks our most ancient tree is probably the Osage Orange or Hedge Apple.  Talk about History, these trees were around with the dinosaurs!  Bet They could correct a few textbooks, if we could understand them.

I have an old Cherokee cookbook which has recipes for chestnut bread and chestnut stuffing, but the American Chestnut is gone.

Occasionally I torment unsuspecting healthcare aides with that book, suggesting they help me cook Yellow Jacket Soup, Cicadas, etc.  Fun.

The Cherokees in Oklahoma still make hickory nut butter, to add protein and fat to soups, serve over rice in a soup, etc.  They also use chinkapin (I think it's a kind of oak) nuts.  Our black walnut trees are in danger and Mo. Provides about three quarters of the black walnut crop for the country.  Personally, I don't like the taste of black walnuts but many people do, using them in Christmas baking and eating them in ice cream.   They also provide nutrition for squirrels and others. There are stoves which burn walnut shell pellets instead of wood, to keep homes warm.

 Pi~non trees also provide food for the Shoshone people and countless other creatures. Then there is the ewe tree from which a chemotherapy drug called taxol, which helped to save my life comes.  There is a drink which can be made from the sweet sap in honey locust trees.  And acorns can be eaten once the tanic acid is leached out of them, the shells can be roasted for a coffee like drink.

Due to two drought years our spruce and pines are dying out here.  The ancient white oaks are gone and a faster growing species was planted to replace them.  Now that species, with a lifespan of about 80 years is dying out and there is an overpopulation of red oaks.

One reason I eat deer meat here is that in general, the land is too rough for growing genetically modified crops of soybeans, corn, or wheat.  So the deer graze and eat blackberries, acorns, etc.  They are smaller than the deer in the Nothern part of the state, where GMO crops are grown, but to my mind they are also more healthy.

Many people use sacred trees to purify and clean their environments and minds.  Cedar, juniper, and other evergreens are usually used for this purpose.  When I smell cedar my mind becomes clearer and my spirits tend to lift.  In Asia sandalwood may serve the same purpose.

I think of trees as Treeople, Tree People, and I immediately fell in love with the Ents of J. R. R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" series.

I haven't even mentioned the more ordinary trees which give us fruit:  peaches, pears, oranges, lemons, limes, papaya, bananas, apples, and cherries.

I Love the smell of a living evergreen and I know that Christmas trees are grown on farms.  But I can't enjoy that smell knowing I'm slowly killing a living being.  Just by being human I must kill to live, that is the law of Earth.  Whether it's a cabbage pulled from the land or a deer, I take life.  So I just have to carefully think about it and try not to take too much.

One of my lifetime wishes is to spend time with an ancient tree long enough to apsorb its atmosphere and maybe even Learn something from it.  If I don't ever get to do this in physical form, maybe I will as a being of Energy.

I heart trees!  But I couldn't send a donation (very small one) to the Archangel Ancient Tree Archhive, because I can't see the annoying Code I have to type in to send them an E-mail asking where to send a check.  I do not use credit cards.

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