These days where I live in the northeast USA are dry and hot in drought, so I look especially at the trees. Some are shedding leaves. I remember reading “The Hidden Life Of Trees, by Peter Wolhleben, Vancouver,Ca 2016”. Wolhleben began his career as a forester working for a German commercial firm harvesting lumber. Then he switched over to managing a natural forest in Germany and his whole approach to trees changed.
He began seeing trees, not from a human perspective — dollars and cents or how they fit around your homes or on your street—but from their place in the forest before we humans decided what they’re good for.
He finds that trees communicate with one another, among other things. They have a language all their own.They struggle and strategize and unite to form a glorious whole. Trees are parents helping their kids and kids helping their parents; well trees help the sick. Trees respond to the universe of air, water, and soil. They respond to a drought.
We humans can learn from them. Just go out your back door and see, Wolhleben says. So I’m watching the trees these days. The new trees we planted last year, the red oak and the American elm. The evergreens around our Mary Garden. The big oaks that have watched over us for years. They’re holding on these dry, hot days. So should we.
The Book of Psalms has an abundance of references to trees. The psalmists watched the trees and learned from them before Mr. Wolhleben did. I’m thinking now it’s our turn. We have to think differently about nature than we do.
Dear Father Victor, thank you for your reflection. Thank you also for your reference to the abundant mention of trees in the Psalms. I plan to plant myself in them and look for those mentions. A look outside and I see: The trees teach us how to be in the Lord and how to let the Lord work in them. We should also learn from the tree vine and tree branch. Even nature knows to stay close to the Vine. Thank you, Father Victor, for always helping us learn and grow and begin afresh.
BTW, Father Victor, I just read the preview of “The hidden life of trees,” and it is an amazing book. It is a textbook that reads like a romance novel, but the reality of which has become a horror story. I had no idea that trees were so critical to our physical world, as well as our physical and mental health. Remember the ol’ joke, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, it’s no joke, now! I pray Mr. Wolhleben’s words are heard and heeded. Plant a tree, save a life… your own!
Dear Father Victor, some final comments tonight: Having prayed the psalms for a good part of the day, I found a renewed appreciation for them. I was telling my sister earlier that I found “psalm trees” today and, ignoring my pun, she asked me, What’s a psalm exactly?? So I left everything to answer her. I found that they are prayers that Jesus learned as a boy and used in his teaching and preaching. Then, she asked me, does that make the Lord’s prayer a psalm? Does it, Father Victor? I couldn’t find anything on the subject. Many thanks!
What a wonderful way to look at nature. HB
fdan, The Lord’s Prayer could be called a summary of the psalms. That seems to be what Jesus intended. Not to make it the only prayer, but a summary of Christian–Jewish prayer.
Wow! The possibilities, the connections, the roots, the promise, the blessings and so much more all contained in our Lord’s prayer. I told my sister. And she said, “yes, but what did Father Victor say?” And I told her and she said that makes her want to pray the Lord’s prayer for her son every day.. Thank you, Father Victor.