On This Week of “Earth Day”: A Lesson from the Forest

dangerfield state park

Daingerfield State Park

Years ago I was fascinated to read Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How They Communicate The following BBC News piece succinctly depicts the way trees “communicate” and share resources – making for a most fascinating “Wood Wide Web”: “How Trees Secretly Talk to Each Other.”  I hope you’ll find the 90 seconds it takes to view the story before reading on.

The connectedness of the forest floor suggests dynamics that can go unnoticed in our own backyards. There is so much going on to which we can be oblivious — until our ears and/or eyes and/or hearts are opened otherwise.

This time of pandemic has stirred a similar dynamic in my spirit. Connectedness.

Learning the Enneagram helped me to put some language to the sensation that can sweep through me as I experience moments that move me regarding to connectedness and belonging.  These connections are sensed in the moment when I look around our dinner table and bask in the gathering of family or friends; when, at major league baseball games, we sing the national anthem (even “Deep in the Heart of Texas”, for that matter);  a moment in Greece among the ruins of ancient Delphi (in Greece, referred to as the center or “the navel of the world”) when I felt an awe at a mysterious connectedness I was experiencing to a community that no longer existed (the same in Ephesus, Corinth and the city wall of Thessaloniki); when I join in the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostle’s Creed and know I’m in unison with millions of voices.

Identifying as a 9 on the Enneagram, I long for and honor connectedness. (The Enneagram is a self-awareness tool that depicts nine different personality styles– reflecting aspects of our godliness as well as tempting pitfalls.)  While this dynamic of connection is just one aspect of the “9,” it is nonetheless a key part of my so identifying.

So we experience an outbreak which became an epidemic which became a pandemic.  Along with the disorientation and alarm, I am moved by (and grateful for) the “togetherness” we are experiencing.  We’ve moved from hearing about “them, over there” to truly feeling part of a global village.  No longer “them and “me”/“mine”/“ours”, it is “we” and “us.”  We’ve moved from being oblivious to being keenly aware. “We are all in this together” is not cliché but profound.

This dynamic is God-made.
We ARE all in this together –
in nature and among humankind.
God has longed for us to know this from the beginning.
Adam AND Eve.
A garden to tend.
We have a God, a self, and neighbors to love.
We are more connected than we are usually aware.

Yes, the trees
and the forest
and this pandemic
(indeed, all of life!)
offer a lot of lessons.
The lingering question
is whether we are listening


P.S. If the “talk among trees” continues to intrigue you,
you might appreciate these TED talks by Canadian Suzanne Simard:

posted by Kathy Reiter on April 23, 2020


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