“If we surrendered to the earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like trees.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
How many of us have the bliss of listening to the sounds of winds rustling the trees, soothing us as we are snuggled up in our beds, ready to embrace the land of slumber? When the winds are whispering like this they are trying to let us in on some secret! This enigmatic sound – PSITHURISM represents one of the many mystifying sounds of nature. PSITHURISM is the exuberant songs of the spring, and the hushed stories of the autumn. PSITHURISM is the salubrious susurration that allows your mind to escape to Mother Nature’s arms. If the human mind was to take a leisurely stroll among trees, it would metamorphose into being a towering, resilient force like the noble giants and their fronds, fluttering under the wild sky as the stars regale their ancient tales of flowers spouting towards the light and the rivers rippling at night, with the mysteries of the universe hidden in the sounds! I wish we were taught the language of psithurism so that we could communicate with the trees and know the ethos of life.
TREES – NATURE’S PRICELESS LIVING ANTIQUES
The French botanist Francis Halle, in his book in defense of trees called ‘Du bon usage des arbres’, says, “Give me a tree and I will save the world.”
As you step out tomorrow, walk to a tree , gently wait beneath it, feel its sound mollifying you, giving your mind a newfound calm, a newfound peace.
There are so many countless wonderful, strange, practical, and inspiring facts about trees.
- If we believe in worshipping entities, I think the trees should be our ultimate god and the most elemental religion to worship and pray to.
- Trees are the oldest living organisms on the earth – a colony of Quaking Aspens in Utah, USA, covering 103 acres of land is believed to be around 80,000 years old! It weighs 6,600 tons making it the heaviest being on earth as well.
- Trees are the best hosts to raise avian biodiversity, and several understory plants, bats and non-flying mammals also find forever homes in the greenwoods. It has been scientifically proven that more trees increase the biodiversity of animals and birds, including the species that are vulnerable and endangered.
- Moreover, not only as a perennial symbol of vitality, back in the days trees also served as a compass for travellers traipsing through the woods. In northern temperate climates, moss growth is more lush on the north-facing side of the tree where it is shadier. If you come across a tree stump and look at the rings, that too can help you find your way. In the Northern Hemisphere, the growth rings in a tree’s trunk are thicker on the southern side of the tree – the side that gains more sunlight. It works vice versa in the Southern Hemisphere with thicker tree rings on the northern side of the tree.
- Along with amplifying the ecosystem, studies have also shown that growing more trees and shrubbery discourages criminal activity! It sure sounds outlandish, but many experts have agreed with that adding green spaces to urban areas actually resulted in lower crime-rates. Come to think about it, trees are not only life-giving gods, but are also our superheroes!
The nature is too magnificent, too monumental to just be a holiday destination for us – in fact, it is our actual habitat. Therefore, letting our modern homes and energies be surrounded by Mother Nature will ameliorate all the invigorating aspects of our lives. It is sad that as our brains have evolved, we have transgressed the ability to comprehend the sounds of nature which is innately present in humans in our primal forms of being wild and free. Maybe, if we still listen to the psithurism, it would guide us towards the symphony and peace of existence. Trees can communicate with each other, and there are various theories explaining how to communicate with them for our hearty nurture by these robust greens. From tree whisperers to various dendrology organizations, all can help to preserve and plant, and help in learning how to connect with these woody wonders.
Ancient wisdom has always portrayed the tree as an object to be idolized and as the strongest inspiration for humans, as they say:
The advice from a tree is:
- stand tall and proud
- sink your roots in to earth
- be content with your natural beauty
- go out on a limb
- drink plenty of water
- learn that glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall
- enjoy the view
- give back to our Mother Earth
In this pandemic, it feels that the winds of change have arrived, and innumerable different challenges are coming our way. The winds blowing through these times will be a symbol of giving birth to a different era. Let’s hope this new era brings forward overflowing humanity and kindness for Mother Nature and every living species in it. The world is definitely getting reoriented; there are high hopes on us as the human race, to understand and revere all living creatures, and stop with the butchering and slaughter. Let’s start respecting our nature and make peace with it, not war. Let’s try and give her power back to her since we have disappointed her in holding that power in our hands. Furthermore, I want to say that let’s not wait for things to get better. Change begins from us. If each of us can start planting a tree, it would significantly impact global warming and make this earth greener and healthier back again for our future generations.
At this point, I remember Padma Shri awardee, the admirable Dr. Janaki Ammal, the first Indian female botanist. Her contribution to cytology and cultivation of medicinal plants is pioneering. She also developed a remarkable garden especially for medicinal plants and to further research ethnobotany. This legendary innovator now rests in heaven, but a quote from her obituary is the perfect encapsulation of what nature means to us. Taken from The Rig Veda, the hymn explains the wishes of its speaker that upon death may her spirit go to different elements of the nature like the Sun, wind, water or the plants. And the reason this is so cogent is because it is meant to be that way for all life on earth.
“The Sun receive thine eye, the Wind thy spirit; go, as thy merit is, to earth or heaven. Go, if it be thy lot, unto the waters; go, make thine home in plants with all thy members.” – The Rig Veda, Mandala 10, Hymn 16