Sunday, November 8, 2020

Forest Evolution: Nature Journaling #12

 

Nothing lasts forever.

Life is change.


The US elections are over and we are all in a state of adjustment to that. I had done this journaling back on Thursday afternoon before any decisions had been made. I went for a walk to vent some energy, enjoy the unseasonably warm weather, and relax. I ended up meandering over to an old downed tree, where I decided to sit for a bit.


Maple seeds & white oak leaves

I became aware of being surrounded by every single life stage of a tree. The grey squirrels were pushing through the fresh layer of leaves on the ground, picking out acorns, maple seeds, and hickory nuts. The trunk I was sitting on was the naked skeleton of an old oak. There were broken limbs from its fall all about me in various stages of decay. Emerging from one gnarl were 2 maple saplings no thicker than a couple of my fingers. Above my head, the healthy crowns of other adult aspen, maple, and oak trees were raised to the blue sky, their branches naked in preparation for the coming difficulties of winter.


Flying insect visitor

My rotting tree seat is returning to the soil, providing food for fungi, mosses, insects, worms and more. A beetle landed on my book as I drew and I occasionally brushed aside other flying visitors who flew close to my face. The logs and downed branches about me also provide habitat for mammals and birds through the seasons.


Another part of the forest

I noticed some living trees were leaning on others. The individuals ARE the forest. There are connections that are so intimate, there’s a blending of one to all. That’s an important concept to grasp. Recent decades of research have allowed us to realize that the forest’s pieces NEED the others. Fungal strands called hyphae actually connect individual trees and carry nutrients and information over distances. We’ve discovered that some trees emit chemicals that allow them to communicate with others downwind. There are many books now about these ideas- one that I read and enjoyed was Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees.


Seed. Sapling. Juvenile adult. Adult. Senior. Death.


Repeating over and over and over.


Life is change, and sometimes the patterns will get completely disrupted. Climate change or fire could catastrophically wipe the forest away, opening the way for other patterns to develop.



Sometimes these truths can be extremely upsetting to us humans. We like control and to know what to expect. However, sitting in that forest calmed me. As I was leaving, I noticed a cicada shell on my tree seat. It had been there the whole time- I just missed it. That insect lived under that tree in the soil for years before emerging during the summer and shedding that shell before flying away as a full adult. Its life changed through metamorphosis. Its reality changed. The world was basically the same, but its relationship to it changed.


Nothing lasts forever.

Change is life.  


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