Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Community on a Tree

A tree in the forest is an expression of community. This is true of every one. Do you have a favorite tree? The next time you visit your favorite tree (or any tree that catches your eye capturing your attention) take time to notice what’s growing on and around it, and what different kinds of insects and animals visit it while you’re there. 

This is a yellow birch tree (Betula Allegheniensis) along the path to Haystack Mountain near the town of Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Park. What I could see is that wood sorrel, various mosses, and lung lichen were growing on its trunk. 

Side note: Lung lichen is very sensitive to pollution and only thrives where air quality is excellent. If the air is good for lung lichen then it’s good for your lungs too.

I imagined the fungus-root (mycorrhizal) connections that link this tree with other trees in the forest beneath my feet. Some kinds of fungi connect with tree roots throughout the forest. Fungi gift trees with access to water and nutrients, also allowing for tree to tree communication. Trees gift fungi with carbon produced through photosynthesis.

I wondered what finches might visit this tree sometime during the Winter to enjoy its nourishing seeds.

Yellow Birch of Haystack Mountain; the spirit in me welcomes and respects as a neighbor the spirit in you. Thank you.

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