Crowning the Mother Tree

my beloved phoebe

Crown the trees

that feed 

the bees,

 one more

keystone species.

Crown the trees

 that purify  

 poisoned air,

  ground, water,

create clouds

for rain,

return fish

 to streams…

Crown trees

that shelter birds

as they turn

light to sugar 

releasing oxygen

so that we may

breathe

Abundant Greening.

During this month

of her Crowning

let us gather round

The Mother Tree

 to accept communion.

 at gnarled old feet.

me, leaning against my favorite Hemlock in the forest

June is the Crowning month for the “Mother Tree” who is getting ready to set her seeds and fruit. This is the time when luminous (numinous?) lime leaves and needles are reaching towards the fiercest solstice light, photosynthesizing each morning until the heat from the noonday star begins to sizzle. At this point trees begin to transpire creating the clouds we need for rain. Underground their roots commune seeking millions of new connections; mycelia produce points of light, store masses of carbon, warn one another of predators, favor their kin, send precious minerals, water, carbon, other nutrients to those trees that are dying, even as the receivers in their weakened state offer whatever they have left for the next generation to live (this may sound like some kind of fantastic story telling but every point I have made is science based). 

Above ground trees also actively converse by releasing volatile chemicals. They make communal decisions about the present and the future. For example, they send new predator warnings through the air. They also decide when they will next offer a bounty of nuts and fruits to wildlife. 

They provide protection, food, and homes for birds. Trees have been around for 400 million years while songbirds emerged from Australia about 34 million years ago when giant conifers, a plentiful understory and the first flowering plants provided adequate shelter and food.

 I don’t think that it is any accident that so many images of the Tree of Life have birds perched throughout the branches. There is a complex relationship between trees and birds that we know almost nothing about beyond the fact that we are losing both. We have lost three billion songbirds. In the United States we have less than three percent of old growth forest left, and yet we seem determined to wipe out the last Old Ones before we are forced to put down the saw.

The loss of ancient tree wisdom brings me to my knees.

The slaughter of so many forests has put more carbon in the air than all the modes of transportation on earth. Twice as much carbon is released into the atmosphere by falling trees… 

In this Crowning month of the Mother Tree, the prognosis for trees and birds is dire.

As Richard Powers states so eloquently, “The Forest is a threatened creature.” 

2 thoughts on “Crowning the Mother Tree

    1. All these creatures have complex relationships that could teach us a lot Tom – but you are right Tom, humans have lost that connection and more disturbing don’t seem to care…..we are so focused on being in “that happy place” – how utterly self serving – and depressing.

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