I’m more in love with trees every day now that I live with a forest. Am learning how they’re a community and speak to one another and how sometimes what we might call ‘crowding’ they call protection and comfort. Left to its own devices a forest pretty much knows how to be.
My interest is in understanding that being.
And these new neighbours of mine, the tamarack, beech, alder and spruce, fir, pine, aspen, among others, have introduced themselves and now that we see each other every day it’s impossible to see them as the same or even similar, impossible not to notice all kinds of differences in the edges of their leaves, their bark, how they each dance to their own drummer in the wind.
I’ve named some of them. Which of course is always a bad thing if you plan on eating a thing. Which, fortunately, I won’t. At least not entire trees. Although many parts are tasty and full of goodness. Spruce tips make excellent jams and pickles. Tea can be made from certain leaves. Most catkins are edible, and so much more.
In early spring I considered tapping a few birch for the water that’s said to be delicious and nutritious (syrup is too fussy for me) but now that we chat regularly, now that the birches have names… I just can’t do it. That water’s in there for a reason. I figure they need it more than I do.
And anyway, they’re already giving me plenty.