I will listen to and help anyone I can regardless if it is a person, animal or foliage. Yes, plants speak as well as animals if someone is listening. If no one listens, I am not certain if they speak so much. Maybe they give up being heard, just like people and pets do. Some of the plants at my sister’s house tell me when she doesn’t give them individualized attention. One was very thirsty and told me so. She got embarrassed and called it a tattletale as she watered it.
There was a grove of trees that I would commune with every day as I walked my roommate, Simha (a lab mix). They brought us both comfort for different reasons. At the end of the row was a medium sized maple tree that was just covered with grapevines. It was suffocating and kept from growing by the vines holding it down. I really wanted to get some of the grapevines off the tree because I have known for years that most trees don’t like the vines growing on them (it’s like wearing an itchy sweater when they are wrapped around their trunk) and these vines were killing this maple tree. It looked sick and had a lack of leaves on it because of them.
It was situated in a ditch with a few logs pushed up against it. The grounds keeper used the area around the trunk to throw clippings and logs that they discarded from the manicured part of the property. It didn’t look too bad to onlookers because it was all covered with the grape vines. Only the tree and I knew it was suffering. I could feel it asking for help and I wanted to, but it was a little out of my comfort zone. After all, although it was neglected it wasn’t my property.
Daily as I walked by this tree, it would encourage me to assist. I would argue back in my own mind that I couldn’t get to it because of the ditch. I started to get ideas of how it could work. I think the tree was smarter than me because I swear it gave me some good ideas of how to get this done. There seemed to be some sense of urgency for the tree.
I invested in a few clippers and trimmed back the vines that were choking it as best as I could. They were so angry at me they got their revenge as best as they could. (anyone who has cut down vines knows how they take their revenge by whipping the face, cutting skin and causing entanglements and falls as best as they can) I wasn’t able to clear real close to the maple because of the ditch it was situated in.
The tree told me to wait until snowfall. It “said” that the ice would create a surface that I could use to get close to it and finish the job. So one night when I wouldn’t be seen, I took out my clippers and cleared away the rest of the vines as much as possible. In the spring, I moved back a dead log near it and I pulled off the dead vines that it was once meshed in and were hanging like rope off of it now. I was satisfied that this tree could now thrive and regain it’s health.
Spring came and the vines that held it down still dangled like rope but it was less and less prominent. It took until way into the summer to get its leaves back but it did start to look normal and I was happy that I helped. And I thought that was the end of it.
Later that summer I came back home after being away for a few days. I was shocked to an awareness of the maple tree’s situation and why the tree was so emphatic that I help it when I did. The whole grove of trees that I communed with every day was gone! A stark ugly low wall was exposed between properties. Yards of beautiful grass were ripped out and the ground was covered with tar. My friends the trees were ripped out by their very old roots to improve the large parking lot that they were lining.
These trees had been magnificent and beautiful. They brought so much peace to the property. They provided nature and shade and a wonderful life force to an otherwise stark area. They were my comfort and my friends and every one of them was mowed down without a trace or any reverence for the fact that they were healthy and hundreds of years old. And now they were gone.
My heart was broken. My only solace was that at the end of what was a grove, there was one survivor. One tree was deemed worthy to exist by the men in yellow machines. My friend the maple tree now stands alone. It still has some vines dangling from it. But it made it! I don’t think it would have without my help. And then I knew why it was so adamant I help it when I did. I believe my friend knew its fate otherwise. The tree reaching out to me showed me that it has a sense of survival instinct and an eagerness to live.
And if my maple tree friend wanted to survive, I imagine the multiple billions of trees around the world, that have known their fate yet were destroyed, and I am unable to fathom it. The loss and suffering is even more devastating than the human psyche can comprehend. They wanted to live.