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  • Writer's pictureCrone

On living and dying

Let's cut to the chase. Here is my Butterfly Tree - the poplar transforming into a deadwood habitat.

To think that it was the living shoots of fallen poplars that made me think of resilience and regeneration in February last year.

Still. I have cuttings in the garden. So I guess these trees do live on.

I pushed on through the blackthorn and brambles to reach the Juvenile Oak. As I walked up the field, I had heard a tawny owl calling from in here. I sat on the sunny side of the tree listening to the birds and seeing them silhouetted in the branches of hawthorn scrub.

It was rather lovely. I wanted to curl up and go to sleep. Or just fade away into the soil.

I was trying to tune into the tree. Thinking about living and dying. Thinking about connection. About competition and co-operation. All I sensed was that the tree felt I, as a human, couldn't really understand.

Trees know place better than any other living being. They understand what David George Haskell calls ecological aesthetics and ethics. They embody a knowledge of what is beautiful and what is good, here.

Trees cannot escape us. Animals try to. New research shows that African animals fear humans more than lions; human voices more than gunshots. You can see video evidence of this on Professor Liana Zanette's YouTube Channel. It is desperately moving, saddening, to see leopards, rhinos, giraffe flee when they hear a human voice. We are the super-predators. We kill more.

When I am standing in the garden, the squirrels will come close and eat, the juvenile blackbird too, and the rats. Speak, and they are afraid.

I wonder if trees respond differently to human voices? Plants can respond to the sound of chewing insects and the sound of bees buzzing....

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Oct 29, 2023

Yes, the poplar transformation. Quite a point you raise - the fear of the human voice. And what happens in your garden when you are silent. And the question you ask at the end ...

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