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Reflections from the SwampMusings about Trees and Elections

Musings about Trees and Elections

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Dear Reader

This article attempts to see what is happening to trees from a political and spiritual perspective. It is more classically swamplike.

Perhaps being a giant frog in a small pond is better than being a small frog in the big world of politics. ( Kermit the frog)

There seems to be a democratic process with the trees in the backyard. Each leaf is a ballot. Each leaf has to decide if it’s time to join the fall or cling on with its companions. The ground is the ballot box. So far, most leaves have elected to hang onto the familiar, although they gradually change their political colours as time passes. Does this say anything about their character? Are they afraid of change, or do they believe that they still have to work relentlessly to produce food for the collective good of the trees until they drop?

After elections, trees become minimalists; they give all their leaves away to Mother Earth and quietly meditate. When they simplify their lives, they make room for the things that matter most and forget about politics. In the winter, there is always music amongst the trees. Our hearts must be tranquil to hear it.

I see a trend going on here. The polls (not the telephone poles) show that the popularity of hanging on is diminishing while just jumping ship off the trees steadily increases. Trees have an election once a year. The period open for casting down their ballots is almost two months long. My bride and I have been stuffing these ballets into large paper bags without counting them. We don’t support calling election winners before the results are all in, but the leaves elected to fall will have a massive majority.

Many trees, especially pines, spruce, and cedars, aren’t interested in the fall elections and don’t vote. A skeptic might conclude that they’re irresponsible; however, they don’t like the rules of fall elections and have done very well ignoring all the colourful showmanship of their deciduous friends. Indeed, the dictatorial trees which control the needles don’t give them a  choice of dropping their tiny ballets en masse. Like Russian dissidents, many needles discreetly sneak out of the tree, one at a time throughout the year.

The larch, or tamarack, are confused by these antics, changing colour and dropping their needles like their deciduous friends but showing conifer behaviour in other situations, such as producing cones. They belong to the NDP (Non-Decidious Participants) during these fall elections. In most forests, larch trees are in a minority, which support their deciduous friends to maintain their influence in the forest.

Trees are all interconnected by mass communication underground through their root systems. Amongst other things, trees communicate about when to drop their leaves. It is unclear how much time trees spend on the inter-root or if younger teenaged trees are significantly affected. Teenaged trees mainly communicate using their inter-rootlet connections and often are oblivious to changes in weather and sunlight. Changing a tree’s opinions and patterns regarding when to drop its leaves is nearly impossible because of the influence of its internet roots.

By losing their leaves and hibernating, trees craft a simpler life that prioritizes quiet and solitude, free from competition for light and relentless work of transforming light into energy.

During these quiet times, trees pray for the world and meditate on the beauty of life. Their religious beliefs include believing that they will be reborn in the spring. Many believe in The Tree Of Life, which gives life to all trees. Through their root connections, trees join a collective unconscious that goes well beyond their earthly experiences. Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. Few humans can enter a forest and not absorb the calmness and serenity that permeates their spirits.

When you go out to rake or bag your leaves, consider what losing their leaves means to the trees, the cycle of life, and hope for the future.

The world improves when we respect, understand, and work cooperatively with trees.

He who plants a tree plants hope. (Chinese proverb)




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