The Secret Language of Trees via Animated Drawings And Richard Power’s Wondrous Novel

This charming little video about the intricate communication system of trees begins:

Most of the forest lives in the shadow of the giants that make up the highest canopy. These are the oldest trees, with hundreds of children and grandchildren. They check in with their neighbors, share food, supplies and wisdom gained over their lives, all while rooted in place.

Through animated drawings, forestry experts Camille Defrenne and Suzanne Simard go on explain how trees communicate with one another using a third party system of symbiotic fungi.

Which seems to us like a big fat miracle.

It has changed our view of the trees in the park across the way, in ALL the trees we pass in our daily wanderings, and the land we are walking on.

Sally Schneider

We found a more poetic description in Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Overstory:

The things she catches Douglas-firs doing, over the course of these years, fill her with joy. When the lateral roots of two Douglas-firs run into each other underground, they fuse. Through those self-grafted knots, the two trees join their vascular systems together and become one. Networked together underground by countless thousands of miles of living fungal threads, her trees feed and heal each other, keep their young and sick alive, pool their resources and metabolites into community chests…

There are no individuals. There aren’t even separate species. Everything in the forest is the forest. Competition is not separable from endless flavors of cooperation. Trees fight no more than do the leaves on a single tree.

Sally Schneider

4 Responses to The Secret Language of Trees via Animated Drawings And Richard Power’s Wondrous Novel

  1. Mary Kelly 07.03.2019 at 7:08am #

    I LOVE this . . .

  2. dr 07.03.2019 at 11:17am #

    Thank you for the great post.

    The Overstory is a truly incredible novel which pretty much everyone needs to read, but just wanted to mention that the author is Richard Powers, not Richard Price (also a novelist, but of a completely different ilk). The title of your post has it as Richard Price (tho the body gives due to Richard Powers). Thank you!

  3. Sally Schneider 07.03.2019 at 11:46am #

    Thank you for your very gentle headsup. Yikes! Late night writing led to me inadvertently swapping in another name I had in my head. SORRY, and thanks!!!!

  4. dr 07.03.2019 at 12:16pm #

    No worries whatever, of course, Sally – I Just want to make sure that people know what/who they are getting when they read the title of the post.

    And, if you don’t mind, I’d like to offer another plug for this amazing novel, which transformed my view of the world (not being hyperbolic here at all, btw). To quote the ever-on-point Charlie Suisman of Manhattan Users’ Guide:

    “Give yourself over to The Overstory by Richard Powers, which is, yes, about trees, but only in the sense that King Lear is about estate planning. Magnificent writing, writ large and small, a novel that makes you see the world differently.”

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