Friday, December 5, 2008

The faded earth, the heavy sky

Our winter woods are empty and quiet and dull compared to earlier seasons, but they are not silent. Nuthatches chatter, gray squirrels forage for acorns, a flock of migrating blackbirds rises in a noisy swirl.

We hear these things. We don't hear the lively chaos bustling beneath our feet. Tree roots unfurling, beetles eating fungi, earthworms converting leaf litter into thick rich soil.

Our human ears fail us, here.

Likewise, our eyes favor big things over little things. Our brains are hardwired to value rare things more than common things.

Our human senses and our human instincts tell us that majestic oaks are better than lichens. Elephants are better than lowly worms.

It's so easy to forget that without worms, there would be no elephants. Without lichens, there would be no oaks.

Oak, elephant, hickory, tiger, forest. We love the sound of these words.

Fungus, slime, mold, grub, soil? Not so much.

But without soil, there would be no forest. Without grub, there would be no tiger. Without microbe, there would be no human.

Take a walk in our winter woods and ponder on that.


Stacey Greenberg said...

wow! way to show me up :)

that last picture is incredible.

Naomi Van Tol said...

Oh yes, it's all about competing with you... think anyone would pay to watch a blogging cagematch?

The tree is that massive white oak on the eastern edge of the forest. It's a beauty.