Crown the trees
Crown the trees
that shelter birds
as they turn
light to sugar
so that we may
During this month
of her Crowning
let us gather round
The Mother Tree
to accept communion.
at gnarled old feet.
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.”