Tree Time

Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

Monday gratefuls: Flonase. Tree sex. Grass sex. Make me sneezy. Leo the gentle. Luke. With family in Florida. Mark dealing with loss in Hua Hin, Thailand. Seoah turning 46 this July 4th. Murdoch. My son, who cares for those who work for him. The unconscious. The collective unconscious. Archetypes. Dreams. Depth Psychology. Rollo May. Marie von Franz. James Hillman. Robert Johnson.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sleep

One brief shining: A mystery this slipping into the unprotected, vulnerable hours, extinguishing the busy scanning of the everyday for a nighttime swim in the inky waters of just our Self, a time for only you, only me, rummaging through the storehouse hunting matters that need healing or celebration or acceptance, speaking the language of symbol and emotion, of the deep you, attending to your Self in the inner cathedral.

On my Lodgepole Companion the yellow male Flowers, catkins, have disappeared. The female ovulate Cones, red and swollen, fertilized, now dot the Branch ends, beginning the transition from female Flower to Pine Cone. These serotinous cones require fire to open them, a hot fire like one produced when the Crowns burn. Crown Fires burn fast, destroying acres of Trees at once. Stopping them tests the mettle of current Fire suppression techniques. Often the Crown Fires burn until they burn themselves out. As once they did always.

Fire does not destroy the Lodgepole; rather, it opens their seeds to newly fertile soil. One Forest dies that another may be born. Not a lot different from the way death burns through a generation of humans, one generation dying, the other growing up in its stead.

Annie Novak, the instructor in my Tree Communication class, cautioned us to notice our anthropocentric tendencies when talking about Trees, Plants. An example. We consider seconds, hours, months, years, decades, as important measures of time. How does a Tree experience time? Or, does a Tree experience time?

Dendrochronologists may use Tree growth rings to accurately place an individual’s life span in our human history. The Tree growth rings themselves? Dead. The heartwood of a Tree functions as a Tree’s columnar support essential to support the Crown as it grows up and up. A key Tree strategy for access to Great Sol’s Light.

Trees do move, up from their Seed toward the Sky, out toward the space around them, and down into the soil beneath them. But they do not move from their chosen location. They also grow in girth, expanding as the cambium produces xylem cells which push the width of the Trunk out as they die and form the heartwood.

(NB for the Ancient Brothers. I misspoke about xylem cells. They die and become the strong support for the trunk. In the center of the heartwood xylem cells transport water from the roots to the leaves through capillary action.) The phloem cells, between the bark and the cambium (growing part of the tree), take sugars down from the Leaves and Branches to other parts of the Tree. It is the phloem and cambium that measure only a few human hairs in width.

Since the heartwood and bark are dead (bark not always, see Aspens for example, but mostly), and the living part of the tree-phloem and cambium-have only a few hairs width presence in the huge structure of the Tree, what of the Tree might experience time? Do we consider the whole organism, which consists of mostly dead tissue, or do we consider the living cambium and phloem only? Perhaps the whole Tree and its growth rings simply are time itself measured in a Treecentric way?

Lots to think about and I’m only one or two strides into Herme’s Pilgrimage. Where will Herme go?