In the first story on the Santa Rosa Fire, the hero tree was an Ulmus Parvifolia...a Chinese or Lacebark Elm.
“Everyone got out…I woke them up…but I wouldn’t have gotten up if it wasn’t for this tree here.” He pointed to the lean, upright bones of a street tree—still standing tall (if skeletal) sixty feet in the air. …"My wife was always on me to cut it down but we lived in the house for 35 years, and I never did. It rained down little pellets on my window…I thought it was hail."
"That tree woke me up…and I woke up all my neighbors…saved my life …that tree.”
For gardeners, this is not news. Trees are neither silent nor still. Like us they use air to speak in rustles, moans, whistles, and sometimes crashes. Their shelter is just one reason they help us be still, but do they talk?
They talk to each other and to other trees through their roots in relationship with various fungi but also thru chemical compounds they emit thru their leaves indicating pests nearby or grazing animals are nearby.
In the bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben documents the stories of these slow interrelationships of root to root, and leaf to leaf tête-à-têt and considers them “wonderful beings” with innate adaptability, intelligence, and the capacity to communicate with — and heal — other trees.
Even if you cannot get your brain around this new research, gardeners (and those who have eyes to see…) already know that trees talk…to us. They talk to us through heart stopping beauty, the shady invitations to respite on a hot day, and through the living-large celebration of the seasons.
Consider going out today and get to know a tree…it may save your life.