The Tree’s Truth – Thrive Global

Posted: April 16, 2020 at 8:49 pm


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Suffering the locked down blues in your home? You are not alone. Longing too for the moments when you felt the freedom, power and pulse of the planet in the mountains, the oak woodlands, the savannahs, and the coastal forests? I imagine many of you like me love to be outside, explore new environments, enjoy new cultures and experiences. So, I have a question for you. In your nature adventures (near and far) can you recall one special moment once stepping back and just marveling at a tree? Great, #MeToo!

Trees are a wonder. They simply stand tall and proud in one singular, solitary place their entire lives. Imagine that for just one exhalation (exultation), inhalation. How many of us during these COVID19 days can now truly appreciate the truth, tone, and temperance of a tree?

What patience what endurance what resilience, acceptance, peace, and calm, the tree must have, right? to accomplish this unimaginable (to me) featto stay rooted in one place, not just for a couple months, but for ones entire life!!! This reflection got me thinking perhaps the naturally resonant energy emanating from the forest is so positive and pure, precisely because the trees stand still. Now forced to remain rooted in our homes, is it possible that we could use this time of solidarity in solitude to recalibrate our natural resonance, remember our natural life purpose, and re-connect to Our Planet? What if you closed your eyes and for a moment, tapped into your creative mind, challenged yourself to remember the smell, the detail, the light, the ambience, the texture, the tone, the feeling you had in front of your special tree? Can you remember what it was like to be still, to be grounded and connected, rooted next to your tree and yet still free? The good news is that you can take a virtual walk in your woods and refresh, recreate, regenerate, re-emerge, anytime you need We are supremely fortunate that way as a species. We are conscious; we can dream and imagine and control our response to our current reality with our thoughtsand with our intentions, create new internal realities to endure the crazy world externalities.

Back to Reality

I recently learned that in my home in the Italian Alps the number of those affected in our little valley just climbed today to 700 and the death toll is now at 82. My mom lives in the Newport/Irvine County COVID 19 hotspot in California. And, one of my brothers and family are Staying in Place in their New Jersey home- also a hotspot. So, be sure I share with you, your pain and grief also in writing this piece. And that said, I do believe the way through this dark, scary night is by both honoring our sacred sorrow and igniting our inner hope, and in that way recognizing the greater truth of our current global chaos-crisis and opportunity.

Could it be that amazing grace is now leading us home? Families are forced to face (mirare look at the wonder and miracle of) each othercook, clean, play together contribute to the family tribe. Is it possible that this global pandemic is forcing us as an entire human civilization to re-root ourselves to the people and in the place we call home and to expand our view of home and connection to include every living being on earth? Remember Pope Francis Laudato Si? In the silent peace that follows the pain, are we beginning to see the re-growth of healthy tree branches and the re-sprouting of barren winter stems with new spring buds outside our home? Truth be toldSpring is still happening and now. Mother Nature is active outside our doors breathing cleaner air, sprouting upward into clearer skies, singing more robust and noise-cancelled bird songs, emerging from snow-covered havens into crisper, richer light.

At the same time COVID 19 is locking down, shutting down, and slowing down human civilization in her tracks. We are beginning again to actually notice spring, to long for that connection to nature, even as on average in the developed world we spent 90% of our time (pre-COVID19), indoors. Why is it that we only really appreciate something or someone when shes gone or unattainable (like Avatars unubtainium)? We are a crazy species. However, the good news is this plague will Pass-over and a new Easter season, a new Eid will come. And, just like other moments in history, like the Black Plague, a new re-birth, a new Renaissance of creativity and intelligence and connection to ourselves- to one another and to the natural world, will return.

Yes, these are tumultuous and trying times. I am with you. But these are also exiting and truly transformative times as every level and lever of society is being disrupted to regenerate itself. Nature has now forced us to evolve. And in this moment, we can learn a lot about building resilience from nature from our fellow mates in the biosphere the other 8.7 million species, who have adapted to a changing planet over 3.8 billion years. We are not unique in our Homo sapiens growing pains. Every other species been forced at one point or another to figure it outto survive to adapt to massive disruptions in their environments and epic natural disasters, like our current pandemic. So, there is a lot of wisdom about how to survive in the wild kingdom. (If youd like to explore further, during COVID 19 I am posting a podcast with clips from a book I am writing called Naturally Intelligent by Design 365 days and ways that animals adapt to and thrive in their changing world, complete with exercises for families to do together.)

And, in the spirit of Combatting COVID19 with Compassion (a campaign NI Media is launching with Ricky Kej, Earth Day, WHO, and partners) this Easter Week; I would like to dedicate this article to all those affected by COVID-19. May we be happy, healthy, and whole. OK, I now offer you a few of my reflections on Thriving Globally from my California redwood grove family home to your family home. I believe this the perfect moment to literally stop and listen to the natural drumbeat of the earth and to remember the lyrics of the forest treeswho must remain rooted in place with branches held high during every tumultuous storm. I hope these insights help you better ground safely and serenely into your current home situation, as wethe global foreststay standing.

The Tree

First, when I speak of the tree, imagine I am speaking about your special tree (above) and the over 60,000 species of perennial (persistently growing) elongated wood stem plants, worldwide. The many species of trees in many forests have evolved from Archeopteris spp. (416-358 million years ago)and adapted to ecosystems spanning the earth from the Ocean to the Mountain. When I refer generically to the tree, I am alluding to an entire group of living organisms with the potential (due to the timeless telomeres at the end of their plant cells) to grow infinitely and to live eternally. I am referring to over 3 trillion living stems rooted to Planet Earth today, numbering more than the stars in the Milky Way. That said, these perennial plants dominated many ecosystems before humans settled; and have lost until today 50% of their global tree population since we started building urban jungles. The greater tragedy is that accompanying human development and deforestation, over 50% of natures wildlife- many resident in these forests, have also disappearedgone not fishing, but extinct. The disappearance of Our Planets Garden of Eden is clearly accelerating. Thus, perhaps Nature Is Speaking and it behooves us to listen to what the forest has to teach us about reconciling with one another and nature in a new way-every day, so we all thrive into the future, together.

Seven Life Lessons from the Tree

Anyone who claims that they are thriving right now in this moment of turmoil is not being 100% truthful. We are all in some ways suffering from physical isolation and the disruption of our lives and work. And, these times of chaos are the tides of our times, driven by the storms that make the trees roots stronger and stems straighter, revealing true resilience and character. If you really spend time in the forest and get to know a forest grove, I have discovered you will notice many things. Their stems are not perfectly straight, especially when they are younger trees. And the young saplings, well, they are quite spindly, weak, and vulnerable looking. Fire scars abound. Most every mature redwood tree has some charred portion (usually on the downward wind side of the tree), where a fire has burned and smoldered, and tried and tormented and tested the trees strength and resilience. The older the redwood trees get and the thicker their bark skin, the less vulnerable they become to those ground level disturbances. They even self-prune the lower branches to keep their green growth points in the upper canopy where the light shines and higher intelligence lives. It also seems that their stems straighten; as they establish a broader base of stronger roots into their fluffy, duffy dark forest home soil.

Lying for hours next to the mother tree in the center of the next generation grove in the eerie creaking and softly swaying sounds oh the stories the trees will tell, the life lessons we have to learn, while the trees we continue to burn. There are so many laws of nature we have forgotten and interdependent connections to nature we have allowed to rotten.

One needs a lifetime to experience and to share. Do I dare move beyond the threshold of opening the door to natures abundant wisdom? What truth about humanity will I find there? But never mind Here at least are seven reasons I have found to hope and lessons from the tree to cope with the darkness when it is near.

Never lose hope, my dear heart, miracles dwell in the invisible. Rumi

Lesson One: Learn to Breathe

During the epic firestorm that besieged the Amazon and Australia this past year; we often referred to the forests as the lungs of the planet. As these forests burned and torched 10s of 1000s of hectares of photosynthesizing green growth drawing down excessive carbon in our atmosphere, so our lungs burned, too. The loss of millions of animals in the Australian fires touched us all, down under and deep within. (If you really want to hear an amazing, creative poet speak of her Australia burning, listen to Lynette Walworth, Crystal Awards, WEF 2020)

If we turn to the Ocean and cool off, then we encounter another suite of environmental calamities plastics, pollution, bleaching-dying-disappearing coral reefs, and the decimation of marine wildlife. If you are a sensitive soul, you may find it hard especially now to sleep at night and to breathe. If you have not experienced much change or tragedy or devastation in your life, you might find it hard to cope with crisis and to breathe. If you have been driven by a chocker-blocked work schedule and daily routine; the slow down might speed up your panicked insides and stir up your anxiety and you might find it hard to breathe. As Alan Watts often teaches, when faced with fear and anxiety; attack, dont look back. Walk right through the imaginary ghosts, future fears, and great depressions. You are alive- right here, right now be grateful, be fully alive and breathe.

Its curious, is it not, that this corona (royal) virus is a respiratory virus? Could it be that Gaia is simply now clearing her lungs? It is as if the virus thats hacked our global society and shut down our multinational mainframes and multiverse lives has come as a warning to humanityto stop, slow down, observe your world and your impact on the planet now exponentially spinning out of controlbreathe, or I will take the breath out of humanity. Microscopic as I might be, I still have the potential if you give me the power and place, to devastate theestraight to your face. Nature This is our reality. Mait no, we have the tree to teach the royal WE to survive. So then finally please tell me, what can we learn from the tree? We can learn to breathe really breathe, and from our past anxiety and future fear; we will be free.

The tree respires (breathes), just like you and me, same-same mechanically. But, the tree breathes naturally-fully-selflessly, unlike sometimes-and especially in times of stress, you and me. In ecology, there is a measurement we take to determine the vitality and growth of the tree. Its the PS/RS rationo not the price/sales ratio; thats in fact, where weve gotten this whole economic-ecological equation wrong. Rather, the PS/RS ratio is the ratio of photosynthesis (make food, grow, go) and respiration (relax, breathe, be). Yes, I am talking about the yang and the yin of the tree; the give and the take; the reflective relationship to the environment it will make; the stem and the roots, relatively equal in biomass measure and ecological treasure. Given the climate and environment and growth stage of the tree, it naturally knows if it is time to grow or to be. This is the first lesson about naturally breathing we can learn from the treeknow its OK and know that its the time to just be.

The second lesson, on tree breathing has to do with letting go and relaxing into the natural flow. The force will be with us as Jedi masters if we master tapping into the trees taproot. And, the only way I can explain this deeper breathing and freer being is by inviting you to be still, close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting or standing right up close against the base of your favorite tree (the one you were admiring earlier in this article).

P.S. You are welcome to skip the next tree meditation part of the article if you think its too woo-woo. But, what if a simple, 3- minute breathing exercise brought more oxygen and attention and peace to the other 43,200 seconds in your 12-hour yang, active, waking day and 12-hour subliminal, restorative, yin sleeping night? And good to note that McKinseys TOP corporate advice to executives dealing with COVID-19s rapid and changing impacts on supply chains and business isBreathe!

Tree Meditation

You may already be a master Zen-Buddha-Christian-Indigenous-Yogi-meditator; so you already know what to do; awesome. For those of you who dont practice so muchso far, heres a way (to find your way) to start. First, close the media alerts on your phone, better yetturn your phone on silentbetter yet, turn your phone overbetter yet, put your phone into a desk drawer or lock it in the closet), close your eyes, un-focus your internal gaze (like you are looking at one of those pop-up 3D pictures), breathe, relax your jaw (yes, stop munching chocolate pretzels), breathe, unfurl your brow, breathe, rest your attention on the center point of your forehead just let your mind hang out there for a moment.

All these subtle gestures should conspire to cause a slight smile to naturally emerge on your face, quite nice. Sigh deeply and relax your shoulders, jigger around your body (crossed legs if on the ground; feet flat and forward if in a chair; mountain pose/basketball stance-feet rooted in the ground, if standing). Travel your minds eye up your body from your toes to your nose, relax, let go, and give into the gravitas of the exact place on the planet for a moment you have decided to root yourself. You are safe. You are secure. You are under the guardianship of your favorite forest tree. If random thoughts, fears, plans, people, popular posts swing into and out of your relaxed state; let those monkey-mind (thats what they call them in Buddhism) moments, like chimps on a vine, playfully swinging bycome and go. Hopefully, if you are able to sit and just listen to the ebb and flow of your breath, for a few minutes more, then you can imagine your point of contact with the ground, sprouting roots. Breathe again once, gratis from the trees; and twice, thanks to the ocean.

Fun aye! Thats one way to pray.

Without stepping our the door, you can know the world. Without looking out the window, you can see the Tao of Heaven. The farther one goes outside the home (heart), the less one knows. Thus, the sage knows without going outside, names things without seeing them, accomplishes all without striving. Lao Tse (translation: Chung-Yuan Chang)

Lesson Two: Defy Fear, Grow Against Gravity

When a tree breathes, it absorbs oxygen and respires also carbon dioxide just like us. The process of respiration releases also vaporized water into the atmosphere from the highly sophisticated, precisely calculated, and intelligently controlled opening and closing of the stomata (very Italian) on the needles or leaves of the tree. These openings are constantly optimizing for photosynthesis and respiration. Remember the Ps/Rs ratio? The clever trick of the stomata flick of the switch is that it actually controls tree growth and loss of water. This powerful process called transpiration drives the growth of trees and is part of the global water cycle. Thus, trees are not only the lungs of the planet; but also rain-makers.

Now then, whats even more extraordinary is that given the special cohesion properties of water molecules, this process of transpiration happens in a tree literally from the ground up. Yes, thats right. water flows against gravity up a tree stem. Given the special energetic properties of water, water molecules are linked together like a chain, traveling water cell to water cell in the trees xylem tissueuntil water vapor exits the stomata gate and enters the outer worlds water cycle once again for maybe the millionth, billionth time, for the rest of the non-tree environment to take. And, it can be no other way. The tree is an essential, biological water-carrier from its root to its shoot within the closed earth water cycle loop.

In order to grow, the leaves and needles must open their stomata without fear, but certainly with sacrifice of their anti-gravity water (via transpiration) to in turn make food for creatures on the planet (via photosynthesis) far and near. Sounds a lot like a social good artist, educator, and entrepreneur? The treelike the heroic social entrepreneur, must sacrifice his solitary water needs to supply a hungry forest community with food, knowledge, and future vision. It is her nature to do so, even though she must constantly innovate past the gravity of convention and grave reality of resistant tension to adapt to unavoidable change. Only then will humanity discover our true ascension. That said, flowing freely and fearlessly in our passion and purpose like water in a tree is going to be (during these COVID19 days, especially) really challenging, and yet really important for survivors like you and me. So, just remember the tree.

Lesson Three: Network, Share and Protect Our Common Forest

In my recent NIW interview with Peter Seligmann (CEO of Nia Tero, Board Chair for Conservation International), I had an epiphany when I heard him speak about the difference in perspective on the forest by Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest versus a Westerner. The classic western frontiersman sees the trees in the forest; whereas the Indigenous Peoples see the forest in the trees or as Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese monk) would say, the cloud in the paper (Bodi Leaf). What does this mean? A frontiersman aims to hunt badgers and foxes for meat and skins to sell, pans for gold to become rich, surveys to lay (false) claim to a plot of land as if one can, and cuts down trees wherever he please. This self-action is extremely limited and false and misses to see the forest through the trees. Rather, in the collective worldview of the Indigenous Peoples the forests are the trees and the trees are the forests. The biotic and the abiotic nature of nature are one. The animals and the environment commune. The health of one reflects the health of the other. I dwell in the forest, and the forest dwells in me. There is no separation. The energy, the air, and the water that breathes me, energizes me, inspires me, mentally charges me, activates me is the same for the tree and all other life that be.

The creation myth of the Skywoman Falling tells the story of the selfless collaboration of animals, the earth mud spread over the turtles back, and the dance of the sky woman in gratitude for the animals care of heras giving birth to our Garden of Eden, as making earth and covering it with green life for an earth ecosystem-rich with biodiverse plants, animals, fungi to then adapt, evolve, and thrive. (Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass) Why have these stories been hidden from popular western culture for so long? They hold the secret to our return to nature and natures return to our home (eikos).

The tree knows this truth and so even though it may maintain physical distance from the other trees in the forest (or so it appears above ground); when you turn the trees world upside down and look underground, you see the other (generally just as invested in biomass) side of the tree, the intricate and extensive system of roots that connect all the other tree shoots (also bushes, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers). They are connected. So, what does this mean? Like a brilliantly choreographed dance, the fine roots among trees in the forest serve as an information highway, an intelligent neural network in constant dialogue with the other trees (and all other living beings) in the forest, part of the collective trance.

Imagine a Lord of the Rings Ent-like underground silent communication.

Who needs water? Who has soil minerals to share? Who has recently been colonized by an insect infestation or overcome by a fungal disease? What else might the trees talk about? Whos hosting that family fox den in their hollow this year? What about that spotted owl? Have you heard them hoot lately at night? Who among us is getting to close or thinking themselves better than most? Time to use our allelopathic (chemicals) ways to suppress their growth? Hey, anyone pitch a spruce beetle lately? Ive had a few up my bark and smell the scouts in the air. Have courage. Stand strong.

In a healthy forest with strong tree and plant roots and communications, questions are answered, needs readily find resources, and survival rates among the community acting together to build resilience against a common threat, like a bark beetle outbreak. When I did my MS research on Dendroctonus.spp (deadly) bark beetles in mountain forests and tracked temporal/spatial patterns of infestation with the old ArcGIS tools, I determined scientifically (and spiritually) that these trees must communicate with one another (through pheromones) to warn the entire forest community of an impending bark beetle colonization attempt. Why is it important that the trees talk to one another and warn each other of such an attack? If the aim of the beetles is to colonize the trees and feed on their phloem to mature their larvae, then they are going for the dendroctonus kill; and the only way for the trees to fight back is to spread resources around, strengthen the forest stand as a unified whole, and coordinate a joint response. Trees intuitively know that bolstering the resilience of one is like bolstering the equivalence of nonein light of a colonization event or overcoming a virus (think COVID19) or withstanding a regular windstorm So, in face of it all; what can we learn from the tree in regards to protecting our community? Survival simply cant be about you and me Its got to be about future-proofing WE in unity.

True Symbiosis: Trees and Fungi Living as One

And speaking of unity consciousness as the key to survival-adaptation-evolution; mycorrihizae (the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant-tree roots) have 100s millions of years of history and experience on bolstering unity in the community, to share. Mycelium is the vegetative part (the underground net) of fungi and when it connects to tree and (tree) plant roots in the forest soil profile, the fungi forms a new bond with the tree (plant). As mycorrihizae (the fungi and the tree) flourish, mutually. Together, they engage in the most extraordinary fair trade of water and nutrients that the mycelia sources from the soil to gift the tree and of carbohydrates that the tree gifts back to the mycelia as food, not just for itself but for all the other living organisms tied to the mycelia throughout the underground forest.

Additional beneficiaries of this mycorrihizae exchange are the other plants and tree roots, who may at one time be somehow in need of increased nutrition or minerals or water to feed. But, be sure that when the tides turn and those same beneficiaries learn that another brother in the forest is in need; to their spare resources will they give to return the good deed. This is what it means to build a healthy ecology on mutual trust and a healthy economy on mutual reciprocity.

This gracious and inclusive communication and communion among trees and fungi and other living beings in the forest is not audible or understandable (yet) to most of us. But it is this natural intelligence (NI) of life functioning at its bestexacting, enacting, and exchanging resources where and when needed that we as a species should learn to succeed. Could it be time to evolve our collective conscience with appreciation and valuation of the integrity of all life, and rise above the autonomous, anonymous (AI) high frequency trading of natural resources as commodities? In mycologist Paul Stamets world he calls the mycorrihazae trade, brokered mostly by mycelia (fungi) a multi-dimensional exchange of nutrients among the AOassociation of organisms. In his opinion, fungi lie at the center of nutrient exchange and growth among all life in a forest ecological community. So, stinky and strangely shaped as they may be, fungi in the forest are treated like nobility.

For the Love of Fungi Connecting Trees with Trees

In the beginning when the earth was formed, mycelia were among the first living beings born. Mycelia broke rocks and fermented soils, which became the nursing ground for life to transform after every storm. In this earth-shaping way, mycelia made rich aerated soil from which emerged the first equisetum plants; flowering and seeding, and in turn, feeding foxes and bears and wild hares. Fungi also sporulated, allowing a great biodiverse ecosystem of ants and plants to populate the earth and all life in advance to feed, procreate, and participate in the Earth Day dance. And did you know that during the PT (Permian-Tertiary) extinction (65 million years ago) when the night and day darkened; only those animals and plants who paired with the fungi in advance; survived to lead the New World in a new biological dance? True.

The more I learn about the magic of mushrooms, the more I respect and appreciate the fungis central role in forest nutrition, preventative health, and crisis recovery. I am convinced, that the Way of the fungi Tao is the secret to our survival post COVID-19. We have so much to learn from fungi, from the forest, from the forest of trees. Fungi teach us how to give, how to live, and how to let go. And, as keepers of the archetypal natural neural communication network, they can even teach us how to well communicate forward on our now nearly ubiquitous mobile devices. On that note, would you like to know mycelias secret strategies for connecting and networking the trees in the forest? Their strategy is simple, yet highly sophisticated and complex: unify, spread neural (netted, webbed, reinforced) communication highways widely (largest mycelia 300 miles in diameter), and create alternate routes for transferring nutrients in silent, underground, gracious, and (important) reciprocal ways. A super COVID-19 recovery response model, right?

Finally, given that fungi have co-evolved with different micro-organisms, like bacteria and viruses for literally 100s millions of years; it makes sense that mushrooms may have already evolved antibodies to supercede this COVID-19 virus. Is anyone exploring what solutions nature can bring to the epidemiology floor? Fungi have been humanitys anti-bacterial/anti-viral friend since the accidental discovery of penicillin by Andrew Fleming (on his windowsill) in 1928. Black plague, small pox, or the flu; didnt fungi eliminate them, too? Isnt COVID-19 in the flu family? Could mycologists now be helpful in finding a vaccine for our current global pandemic? Agarikon mushrooms have been shown to attack small pox and various flu viruses. As well, the Haida First Peoples of British Columbia used Agrikon to ward off diseases associated with evil spirits and ethereal (air-borne) microorganisms (viruses, bacteria). (Paul Stamets, MycoMedicinals ) Could Indigenous Peoples and mycologist knowledge be key to unlocking the COVID-19 antibody door?

P.S. And, for the love of fungi, watch Louie Schwartzbergs Fantastic Fungi film. Its a wonderfully orchestrated time-lapse view of the fungi forest floor and more. Divertiti!!!

Lesson Four: Conserve and Optimize Energy and Resources

Not only does the forest operate on the principle of abundance for all and communal resource sharing to maintain health and vitality; the forest has also evolved since Devonian days to optimize for the production and exchange of these resources. There lives a lot of wisdom in the forest. Depending on the age of the tree and their position/role in the canopy communitythe production, use, and exchange of resources has ecologically evolved (via natural selection) to optimize energy and access to resources. So, this part of the trees story seems best told in a life linear wayfrom the time the tree was just a seed until it grew to be quite old and gray.

The Seedling

Beginning with the beginning of life, the seed- whether literally blasting forth from a heated (serotinous) cone or traveling in the gut of a bird or a squirrel who calls the tree home; or following the wind currents of a maple wing on the winds of a prayer, the self-sustaining seed will finally find ground to settle somewhere. Quite a miracle indeed, the seed contains all the energy and nutrient resources, to sprout life below ground that it would need. And imagine this, many trees will mass coordinate their seeding and fruiting activity as a forestall for one and one for all all at the right spring time (or if the species only fruits every few years, all in the same year to preserve precious resources in harsh or limited environmental conditions), when the light and seasonal conditions are prime. Why? Again, the trees know that we be forest. We are family and when we all thrive, the forest stays alive.

That said, competition among individuals is healthy and clear; especially for a tree in its younger year. Thus, the sapling generation is naturally driven to the light and races to the top of the canopy to compete for that spotlight. But along the way as they grow, they benefit the forest, greatly you know, because they photosynthesize and breathe back, feeding the forest at this age the most and strengthening the tree tribe from an infection or bark beetle attack. Then, reaching the age of maturity, the adult trees become increasingly more careful in balancing their photosynthetic flush and belly-bole (tree trunk) outgrowth in order to optimize the ratio between offensive nutrition intake and forest green out-take with wind resistant stems. There is a reason that philosopher kings from Plato to Buddha to Jesus to Mohammed taught under the tree and found enlightenment there. Trees exude wisdom. They intuitively know that to live long and leave a legacy they need a robust, insect resilient, fire retardant, bark protected tree stem and a sufficient canopy of green biomass to feed the whole tree ecosystem of roots or shoots or mycelia connected living plants and critters or reproductive cones and flowers that the tree gifts food, water, oxygen, and shelter against snow showers.

Somehow coded in the DNA and genes of that small forest seed, the mature tree intuitively knows that natural disturbances are part of the forest life game, so ensures it has just enough resource to thwart an infection or infestation or storm or forest fire, aflame. Thus, as the tree gets older and becomes an elder, she will now grow very slow (if at all), knowing that not every vital phloem cell will flow with that essential sap to repair any branch gap due to a thunderous lightning clap. The good news is that with this accumulated age and experience all lived in one place comes the accumulated history and wisdom that no younger tree or forest visitor can replace. Knowledge over time from navigating a natural disturbance sheltering in placea fire, a flood, or a storm, gives the tree (and all who listen to thee) a distinct advantage to keep protected and more resilient against any future threat the tree or forest of family might face.

Then my favorite tree efficiency story lies within its core. Eager to hear more? Well, as most trees mature and have reached quite a nice height to establish a healthy green canopy and absorb sufficient sunlight; they slow their growth upward and begin to spin, within. Essentially, mature treesthe enlightened ones, build resilience with reduced cells and resources by a twist of the stems wristand in that way, they avoid the chronic old age stems hunched over forward list. But, they dont just randomly twist. In order to semi-retire in their elder years and still resist the wind; there is a specific pattern and precise motion to optimize the trees altered mature state and magic tensile strength potion. Many subalpine trees as from my ecology studies I recall, twist each outer plant cell wall, 23.50. I also believe this degree for the tree may even be aligned with Fibonaccis natural law, but you should check me and see. Anyway, astute urban architects, planners, and developers (e.g. Vanke, the largest real estate developer in China) who have studied the forest have succeeded brilliantly in constructing sky scrapers copied from lifes play book on optimizing tensile strength to resist earthquakes and wind storms in cities like; Dubai, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai from tree to tree and sea to sea, incidentally making billions of dollars off natures intelligence for free. Then further imagine, what if we built the buildings of our future cities as functioning forests, entirely? Dickson Depommier (senior counsel to Aerofarms and educator at Columbia University) has already mapped out New York with his graduate students from Columbia University and developed a new 100-year forest development plan for the entire city. As now many companies and banks realize during COVID-19 that they can work virtually, world centers of commerce might also aim to reset cities that optimize also a carbon neutrality and greater energy efficiency gain. If we drawdown over 30% of global atmospheric carbon by protecting standing tree forests (896.2 GT of CO2), then how much more carbon could we save if we cut the construction sectors carbon budget (23% of the total GHG) in half by literally building a forest of urban tree buildings? Isnt that another COVID-19 recovery and future-proofing point for team Tree? And finally (for now), what if we could make these new wood buildings singno kidding, but actually YES produce food, on every commercial building floor in a separate wing? This is Aerofarms vision, which is already a lucrative business, present reality, and huge win for team agriculture, looking to reduce their carbon emissions and feed the world, too.

Lesson Five: Be Inclusive, Welcome All

The tree is home and habitat to an entire host of forest species. This we know from our very first National Geographic Kids adventures, Disneys Animal Kingdom discoveries and David Attenboroughs BBC Earth series. And in some synergistic cases, specific keystone animals dependent on forests as critical habitat help protect old growth ecosystems as a whole from its rich natural history being deforested and legacy destroyed. The spotted-owls protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 in the Pacific Northwest old growth forest comes to mind as a good example. As well, there are many other iconic large mammals, like the Spirit Bear, or sacred fish, like the Chinook salmon, and miniature Alice in Wonderland earthen critters, like slugs and snails, who all play critical roles in keeping the nutrients flowing and metabolism of the forest going; essentially the community functioning as an interdependent, collective, healthy whole.

The stories and totems that celebrate different animal characters and contributions to the forest abound. I have explored a few of the most known in my Naturally Intelligent by Design animal picture book and selected animals NI by Design Podcast. There are ecologists, like EO Wilson; naturalists, like David Attenborough (new series) and Robin Wall Kimmerer; and forest experts and ambassadors, like Jane Goodall, Tom Lovejoy, and Sonia Guajagara who have studied and lived in the forest most (or good part) of their lives. They and many others have written papers, lectures, volumes, and books on the importance of maintaining the forest for the trees; the ecosystem for the community of organisms who co-evolved together under one forest canopy roof. Natures life philosophy that all are welcome under the forest cover to live in symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship to one another is just perfect for our day, for humanity to biomimic in every way.

What harmony. What grace You just cant find natures organic elegance represented so richly and completely in any other human artifice or urban space.

Then starting at the trees core, scouting bark beetles simply send pheromone signals out to friends; and in little time an entire colony arrives to the tree as if theyve reached lands end. Then, together they bore in and aim to colonize their new found home, incubating their pupae (multiple instars) in beautifully-carved signature tunnels where under the trees bark they feast for 7 instars and roam, feeding royally on the trees phloem (nutritious food resource). Although they are silent in their movements to our human ear, the woodpeckers know they are there and peck and pluck these pupae insects from the dark under the bark. The woodpeckers and the young eggs in their nest normally occupy the forest canopy, but sometimes an egg falls; and what appeared a tragedy for the woodpecker becomes the opportunity for the female fox who needs to feed her family, housed in the same tree root den. Of course, the white-tailed deer is also always near. She is the Artemis protectress of the forest sphere, who also browses the understory plants until winter comes and covers them with snow, so to the lichen on trees when summer forage is gone, shell go.

How is it that in one forest corner alone, such a rich natural history tale can be so naturally sown?

If we travel south to the tropical forests, then the forest story also explodes in life abundant in the canopy alone from flying squirrels, to lemurs and chimps, to parrots, macaws, toucans and 100s of other colorful, interesting birds; frogs and snakes, butterflies, chameleons

The whole community is too vast to speak and we havent even touched on the fire ants, or slough narrative at its peak. These forests and their biodiversity are the wealth of our planet. And, yet we have valued the forest for its trees; decapitated many on a sawmill when we thought there were plenty. You know his sawmill work in Yosemite is what fired up John Muir to protect his adopted forest from further development the enemy. And it is his passion and persistence, which gave rise to the first true earth day resistance, which finally birthed the first US National Park Yellowstone in 1872 to preserve the area for the benefit and enjoyment of the people in nature for nature and people to co-exist. Sadly until now most people have forgotten the value of a tree and so many forests have been cut and burned, but now after this horrific year of massive worldwide fires, perhaps we are beginning again to learn.

Welcome to the New World

Tragically, it is only recently before the corona virus attack that we came to realize the holy shit mess we are in with nature. But we are not too late and strangely with the virus having slowed down and shut down the world for a time; nature has been able to finally relax, breathe, and recline. In a BBC news interview, Sir David Attenborough, the 93-year old trusted ambassador for the earth, reflected on the fate of humanity, recognizing that we were the last truly organic generation of Homo sapiens to live. The path is clear; whether we try to travel to the stars or stay on earth here; the world as we know it is now gone. It will not re-appear. But what we must now guard against is the replacement of all that humanity holds dear by artifices and electronics digital zeros and ones, upgrading our human intelligence by a power of none. For the miracle of the evolution of all that is human- the accumulation of natural intelligence of life nurtured over 3.8 billion years, is clear. And, this miracle of the biosphere I simply cant imagine we would allow, if we knew its value, to disappear.

That said, the reality is that today we suffer biological loss and ecosystem collapse at an unprecedented scope and scale. Ive written in many articles these past years about the tragedy of the commons; the loss of 52% mammalian wildlife and the human domination of terrestrial ecosystems by 70%. If we really care; and we dont now dare despair; but are willing to share; then we can grab this corona virus by its virtual lungs and breathe life back into ourselves and our communities by regenerating our bioregional homes.

We will need $300-400$ billion USD annually to payto preserve and to restore these ecosystems, worldwide and to protect 50% of the natural world as wild. But to put our preventative and restorative actions into valuable perspective, our global response to the COVID 19 crisis according to IMF managing director and chair, Kristalina Georgieva; will be a war chest amounting to more than $1 trillion USD to be now optimally effective. On top of this, the pains of hunger and poverty and armed conflict over land and resources have not gone away. And, we will still need to produce 70% more food on 25% less land, or the global situation will get worse. That said, the positive path forward for all is to adopt carbon neutral, energy and resource efficient lifestyles. And hopefully the limited access to consumer goods and services (even online) during this corona virus has taught us to value what we have, to use less, to save, and to savor more. Further, well need to develop and to power our world with 100% renewable energy. Well need to connect people to nature in order to maintain our personal and planetary health- one in the same. Climate change, widespread destruction of nature, increasing frequency- intensity of natural disasters, and extraordinary biodiversity loss are real. And now we know that global pandemics can literally shut down world commerce, destroy livelihoods, and predate on our species. Thus, it is clear that there will not be a business-as-usual scenario when we emerge from the COVID19 crisis. Our global economy, trade, and way of life are now forever disrupted. However, the good news is that what at first appears the worst thing to happen to humanity could actually be the best thing to happen to humanity.

We now have a real opportunity on the other side of the COVID 19 crisis to reimagine our communities, local commerce, regional trade, and global travel in ways that are healthier and better for us. We can recreate our relationship to natural ecosystems in more balanced ways that allow biological communities to breathe again and to return to full vitality. Philippe Coustaeu (Jacques Cousteaus grandson) loves to tell the story of the radioactive sharks sharks who returned to the Marshall Island chain and stimulated a revitalization of the entire pelagic paradise only 20 years after the islands had been bombarded and 100% destroyed by nuclear test bombs. Nature knows how to recover if we dont decimate first the biodiverse intelligent defense system we have already in place. We just have to give mother earth a little space and now with the COVID 19 crisis locking humanity inside; the good news there is that the family is forced in closed quarters to learn to sustainably co-exist and nature is allowed for a while without the footprint of humanity in its midst; to for a moment, breathe freely and persist.

So what do we do to support our human+nature relationship at this time? Political and business leaders will be challenged to create new policies, protocols, and long-term programs to regenerate the new climate, nature-based economy. Even now, we can engage global citizens in a hyper-local (and for the time being, virtual) way to actively participate in the regeneration of our homes and the biosphere in our backyards. But we have to make our approach super cool, exciting, entertaining, engaging, positively addicting, and globally viral in order to reach our 50% re-wilding on land and sea New Deal for Nature goals by 2030.

And now to our tact, it must be an all for one and one for all worldview that will prevail or we will surely fail because like it or not; life is linked. We are all voyagers on spaceship earth; and we aught to have an astronauts planetary perspective that on this imperfect, organically evolved biosphere, we cant draw a discriminatory line between you or me or the tree. As in a forest it becomes abundantly clear, in order to survive synergy we ought to hold dear. We all have a role to play in this dance called life. There is a reason we are each here.

Welcome Home

Its often said that home is where the heart is. So when someone opens his home, he is no longer alone because he opens his heart. Conversely, when he closes and locks the door, he means to shut you out of his heart, life, family, circle of friends, and home. People can sometimes be cruelexclusive in thinking and limited in being. But, in the forest, the door is always open. All living organisms are welcome home. No one is ever rejected or meant to feel alone. And the good news is that the truth that the Indigenous Peoples have always known is that the earth is for every one of us, our common home. No matter who we are or what we do or where we live we are valued by life. We are an essential force of nature. And, regardless of how other people may treat us or find false prejudice, or call us foreign because of our different skin tone, on earth and in the forest we are never really alone. If the pandemic doesnt make the truth of our connected existence impeccably clear; then I believe it is important for us to reflect more deeply on who we really are, ultimately a shining star. The truth of our reality is that the circle of life and the compassion, which holds us together, has no beginning or end. Everyone deserves love.

When we try to pick out anything by itself; we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. John Muir

Lesson Six: Think in Circles and Seasons- Balancing Being & Doing

Life gifts us waves for us to weave. It ebbs and flows when it please and passes by so fast that only if we are attuned to the seasons, and tuned into the colors of our communities in winter, spring, summer, and autumn when the changing needles and leaves finally fallwill we be able to claim at all that we lived an awakened life connected to the secrets whispered in elder forest circles, forever strengthening and tightening the weaves among the mycelia and the tree leaves.

In temperate, mountain, and boreal forest ecosystems where there are seasons; trees will produce very distinct rings. In equatorial tropical forest ecosystems, the rings are faint (if at all) as the climate stays relatively consistent throughout the year. Why this difference in tree rings? In forest ecosystems where the cold, dark winter contrasts a warm, sunny summer trees grow differently; season to season. Most trees slow down their growth and activity in winter They rather settle into the cold; retreat resources inside; assess the assets they have to over-winter; and lay low, receiving, sensing the winter wind; preparing their needles, branches, and bark for snow cover; listening to the silence until spring. In slowing down, their cells bundle closer together and so in a denser statecreate a distinct and formidable dark ring around last years growth, almost as if honoring, protecting, and conserving their present health, then to celebrate and begin again fresh the first day of spring. Also during winter, carbohydrate and water resources in trees are pulled back to the core and roots, so as to be best prepared for this new spring growth. Simply, there is a time in a mountain forest tree life to be quiet and reflective and responsive- to BE a tree. In the winter storm of COVID-19 that continues to keep us cozy inside our homes, I hope that we can take advantage also of this time to simply BE, like a winter tree. I love that one of the first protective, self care measures (besides masking ourselves like bandits and keeping physical distance) is washing our hands; literally putting our right and left hands together, almost in prayer and circling and cleansing, and purifying and honing the energy within somewhere. That is what it means to BE, and to be still like a Tree. Imagine if now, we were to really wash our hands with the same quality of meditative presence as in the practice of Tai Chi and the Tao. And when the COVID-19 tide has turned and we can shake hands and hug each other again, at last, imagine the power of our first human + human exchangehow the fresh, centered, positive energy we bring, could really make the universe again; sing. Indeed, this will be a glorious spring.

And when it is time again to DO- to be active and out in our COVID-19 free world; I hope that stripping our communities to their essential service bones, we will also now give us pause to reflect on what best businesses and practices ideally support our communities and provide real value to our healthy homes. Soon enough we will awaken from our receptive, reflective COVID 19 lair; and we will have a chance to BE-DO the right thing. So what should this new spring bring? Here we can look to the trees and to nature again, please, for advice about how to create our new utopiaour new human+nature paradise. In this active (yang), progressive, productive, creative, and tree phloem-building DO state of spring there are three principles of the forest and nature I would now like to bringunity consciousness, symbiosis, reciprocity.

Unity Consciousness

First, in sourcing the hidden resources of winter, sprouting, and growing its new stemthe individual tree waits for the whole forest to wake up again, to reboot the ecosystem for spring; then in one coordinated dance zing, zing, zing up shoots and arrives to earth all the new offspring. This principle of life to support the survival of the whole is a principle we will be faced to follow (or not) when comes the first COVID-19 vaccine to avoid a new death toll. Here we can again learn from Indigenous culturesin stories, poems, human + nature rituals-dance; the ways to walk in this world, so as not to become too caught up again in the purely urbane, artificial, commercial, fast-paced, soul-striking marketplace trance. I believe post COVID-19 we have a real chance for the emotional intelligence and consciousness of humanity to really advance.

Symbiosis

Second, all life in the forestcreatures big and small, are significant to forest health overall. Simply by nature of their existence and natures selection among others in the forest over geologic time, thats substantive proof that every forest creature must play a critical role in the health, metabolism, and wellbeing of the forest community as a whole. Earthworm may aerate the soil. Banana slug may deliver nutrients with its slime. Blue jay may drop (and inadvertently plant) pine tree seeds. Honeybee may pollinate forest flowers. Gopher may dig a den for the fox. Beaver may build a damhabitat for egg-laying frogs who then manage the mosquitos in those small forest pools. Trout purify with their life and nutrify by their death, the forest streams, gleaming with the fresh and local scent of native needles and leaves, fallen and now flowing with the winding waters. Symbiosis is alive and drives a forest that thrives. All living creatures matter to the forest, whether we know them or not. (sentiment of Sir David Attenborough)

Every animal and plant shows up to work-play every day automatically, offering real value to add to the community. Their barter exchange with others is mutual and beneficial to the forest entire; even if they dance as predator and prey or parasite and host and one ultimately respires. All types of relationships check & balance the other, like a well-functioning democracy. This way no group spins out of control and loses its focus on strengthening the weave of the whole. Similarly, communities who value and actively engage the talents and capacities of all its members, thrive. In the recovery and regeneration phase of our transition out of the COVID-19 crisis, it will be imperative for every local communitys self-sustaining capacity to engage in a highly synergistic Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) process. And this process would ideally, replicate a WEave, not a wave; meaning that the process is inclusive, mutually beneficial, and communally driven by the WE, rather than a one-way, pulsating wave of ME (leadership ego) promotion that simply crashes again and again on the shore in endless, hypnagogic motion. The essence of Robin Kimmerers book, Braiding Sweetgrass, speaks directly to this inclusive (WE) weaving action that not only requires communal exchange, but that also reinforces the bonds among communal beings 10-100-1000 fold, like all strong fibers used to make our blankets and clothes and keep taut our teepee home, as well, the sails in our Tiki boats wherever they now roam.

Reciprocity

Finally, we need to adopt natures principle of reciprocity in order to re-create the natural circularity that existed before humanity began to create the concept of waste and build artifices and unnatural products that would not biodegrade or break. Where we have done damage, where we have created pollution, where we have clogged the natural metabolic streams of the planet to flush, rinse, and repeatwhere we have done wrong and biological harm; we need to mind the gap, and close the circle. Many consumer-facing, product-producing companies are now wrapping their minds around and designing their products based upon circular reciprocitythe concept of creating endless life, infinitely recycled products. Bill McDonough (founder of the circular ecology/economy vision) would take the recycling narrative further and faster toward upcyclingcreating more value every turn of the regeneration wheelto recover first our human + nature balance.

Is it possible in the post COVID-19 rubble that we may finally be able to create a new global economy? If economy returns to its roots and refers back to the management of our home resources, perhaps a new bio-based economy could now naturally emerge. Yes, an economy where we rightly value natures goods and services the natural capitalism way. Yes, a new economy where we are more about building mutually beneficial relationships and fair trade exchanges with full bio-accounting spreadsheets of real (human+nature) costs for production, manufacturing, transport and recycling (upcycling) of goods. And yes, ultimately evolve a true bio-based (life-based) economy where we do not look at nature as a mere raw resource and commodity or human laborers as employees with numbers and time cards; but an economy (system of management) run on reciprocitya commitment to a relationship of infinite value exchange based upon an honest recognition of the inherent worth and interdependences of all life.

The best instructor to teach this new bio-based, giving economy based on reciprocity is the natural world. Nature is perpetually gifting usfresh, wetland-filtered water; clean ocean breeze air; new models for medicines; new biomimic designs for innovation and technology growth; new grasses, roots, shoots, and fruits; which become our daily breadall for free, all without fee. As long as the ecosystem remains intact and not under human attack; the biosphere will regenerate, and every year give back. We do not have to take or to hoard or to lord over any natural resource or claim ownership over any land; if we orient ourselves to gratitude and give what we can; its amazing what healthful resources the universe brings when one unclenches his grip on life and fear of poverty or death or not receiving his fair share. As nature abhors a vacuum (Alan Watts), its a curious thing that more you give the more abundance seems to flow toward you and the life you life.

Many Indigenous Peoples who have lived generation after generation in relationship with nature and the land have really figured this out. As we emerge from the economic rubble of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe we can really benefit from learning the Native Peoples gift giving approach to value exchange. (research TBC) Imagine if we re-created a local economy of goods & services (basic foods and essential village services) that were directly bartered or exchanged in parallel to a global (probably virtual & online) marketplace comprised of both digital (virtual) goods and (virtual) online services; as well as, physical goods, purchased in a virtual marketplace and delivered directly to your home with a delivery drone. This is one future scenario that is fast becoming our present reality and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating this new economic paradigm. My natures reflection and intention here is simply that as we shift, we naturally drift toward a new economy that is conscious and compassionate and leads with an energy and ethic of fair trade, gift giving, and real calculation of nature-human-manufacturing-transport costs where money continues to insert itself as the medium of exchange. May we in re-creating that new bio-based economy value reciprocity and recognize the greater value of building right relationships and resilient communities.

Many years ago I learned about the Potlatch ceremony of the Pacific Island communities and remote Pacific Northwest villages. In the Potlatch ceremony itself the social status of individuals and families in a community are honored and elevated when they give. These cultures and this Potlatch ritual are excellent starting points for learning about the gift-giving, bio-based economy. They have adopted this sharing mentality and orientation to lifeto first give, and to give abundantly and freely; trusting in an eventual return; believing unequivocally in the circularity and reciprocity of life. And when everyone shares this common ethic, the village economy works well.

If we look closely, other cultural traditions have adopted this central value of giving to sustain a village community or tribeeven my own. In the spirit of Easter week, I will share an interpretation of the Fishes and Loaves story I remember learning at the University of Notre Dame; many years ago. The true miracle (mirare- reflection, mirror on society) and message of this parable was the selfless offering by a young boy of the 6 fishes and 12 loaves during a community gathering, where people were complaining of getting hungry. As the story goes; so moved where the rest of the travelers by this boys gift-giving; that those gathered stopped complaining and revealed the staples of food they had packed and rationed under the saddle bags of their pack animals. By the time everyone had offered gifts of food to the gathering, having been inspired by the young boy; after the meal they found that there was an abundance of food left over.

I love this story, especially for these COVID-19 days because I believe we may discover that if we can uncover the humanity in every home that there is enough, food, water, financial resources, emergency reserves for every human being from their previous misfortune or down-trodden life, to recover. As I have heard from my mother in some garages close to her homestores of food and supplies from ground to ceilingenough for a village of people that could fill an astrodome. I was reflecting on this fear-based hoarding reaction many had to the virus when the news broke out. And while walking along the seaside cliffs where I live, I just happened to look down and find myself in a rather large patch of mullein plants. I had to laugh. The Indigenous Peoples who used to tend these lands used the Mullein plant for toilet paper. And if you just take the soft, fuzzy leaves; the root of the plant will grow more back.

Suffice to say, if we truly turn toward the land and learn about the local food and natural riches our bioregions abundantly provide, then we will surprisingly soon close the human+nature divide and regain our sustainable stride, as well, our right relationship with nature where we reside. And in our very dense urban cities, we can also learn innovative ways to urban outfit citizens living in high-rises there with the highest quality natural lifestyle and nutrition by bio-mimicking these same natural processes outside the urban bounds to produce similar circular, regenerative processes to meet our needs. (e.g. rooftop gardens, green walls, algae fountains, aero-farms, permaculture waste ponds, natural parks and sanctuaries so much more.)

Briefly, but significantlyas this is a topic to further explore one other way to unlock the wheels of innovation to drive further, faster, forward to regain our reciprocityour right stewardship relationship with the natural world is to reduce our production-consumption spiral of products designed and packaged with artificial plastics and pollutants. Rob Tercek talks and teaches about the vaporization of physical things and the value that smaller, lighter, more powerfully connected fewer electronic smart things brings.

Finally, Nature is not anxious. Nature just flows in cycles and streams it simply, effortlessly goes. Life is a weave; and now is a great time to learn how to sow new future seeds.

Lesson Seven: Fearlessly Face Death and Life

What is death? No one really knows, and thats why we fear it. But, what if we looked at death differently? What if death was more dynamicless final and more familiar; merely a change of state and the constant state of change? What if when a living being dies; its spirit simply finally flies, shedding its false sense of separate self (ego) as it soars happily across the brilliant skies? What if when we die, we tap into the truth of a tree? What if when we respire our last breath, it is the exhalation of the false exultation of the singular (ego) self that is death? What if when we die, we inhale the truth of a tree? What if death was a slow, steady journey back to the essential Self, recycling (upcycling) back to earths origin, back to the original all-colored darkness and the female void, back to the infinite beginning of lifes circle-the dimensionless point, the center of the symbiotic mycorrhizae-like collective intelligence, the wise ocean, the alpha-omega, the ubiquitous universe? What if when we die, we learn that this naturally intelligent truth of the tree is no lie?

I focused my masters degree in ecology on natural disturbances in mountain forest ecosystems. After teaching ecology for some years, I then spent my PhD research time studying the regeneration of forest mountain ecosystems in the Swiss Alps, given multiple disturbance variables and anticipated climate change scenarios. After more than three decades exploring many of the Western worlds forests; either my sharp analytic eyes have gone fuzzy or my scientific mind is relaxing; but I am starting to see the forest through the treesand the distinction between life and death is not as clear any more as I had previously perceived.

I begin to wonder, had James Cameron truly tapped into an ancient Brazilian Amazon Indigenous Peoples truth; when in Avatar he directed Grace (played by Sigourney Weaver) to be laid to rest by the mother tree in Pandora to become illuminated with the blue tendrils enmeshed in natures soil and consumed in her earthly womb, to return to lifes pinnacle state of Grace-unification with all life in death? Could the distinction between life and death merely be our personal orientation to existence, our point of view? Could life and death simply be different sides of the same mirror; depending on the angle of our perception and reflection?

The more time I spend my COVID-19 days alone sheltering at home and in nature (my home is in a biological reserve), strangely, the more my mind, heart, and senses attune to (what I believe to be) natures essential truth life is dynamic; nature is sacred (sacra-whole). We are as transient travelers on this temporal earth journey, living and dying every step of the way, every moment of every day. There is nothing still or static or dull or dead about death and it is the same for deaths reflection on life. This realization gives me great joy and COVID-19 relief, as well the knowledge that this time will pass. And yet these COVID-19 days will also always remain with us, as this walk in earths woods, while not a journey from point A to B, is an invitation to embrace and accept all experience as the way to BE. There really is no real destination for life, no beginning or end no point of arrival, but rather a deepening realization that we have already arrived when we notice and celebrate abundance everywhere, alive. Gratitude is the correct attitude. And, the real gift of the journey is to learn to be present to every glorious moment.

Transience is the message of nature. The more we turn to impermanence- the more we appreciate the present moment is fleeting and therefore precious. Mark Coleman, Spirit Rock

yes, we need nature. We need nature to bring us back to the power of now. (Eckhart Tolle) We need to connect with natureto be in wild places to release us from the unnatural, grinding noise of local disruption and global stress, to recalibrate us to a harmonious peaceful state, to remind us of our naturally intelligent flow, to let go. Maybe in this dark night of the soul, when we are directed to stay still and shelter in place, we can find relief in this forced solitude by again admiring in the life-death face of it all; the trees grace and its ability for the entire time on earth to grow roots and to tap into natures life giving force in one forest space.

Read more:
The Tree's Truth - Thrive Global

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April 16th, 2020 at 8:49 pm

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