As you know if you have visited this blog before, when I am sad or downhearted, I go to the woods and walk it off. Usually a park is good enough, and I have particular trees that just to see them is enough to make me feel better, but sometimes, I am so sad, I have to go to the forest. In case you think that is sentimental rubbish, I have a book that demonstrates it is scientific fact that forest tree have healing powers.
We, humans, are used to seeing and hearing, but we often discount or forget the power of smell. I remember once a police unit brought drug sniffing dogs to the school where I was teaching, for an auditorium program. One of the officers said that a dog walks in an ocean of scent.
We all know that they have done tests that show babies can recognize their own mother's smell from nursing bras, and they have done tests to show that women prefer the scents of certain men over others, but using t-shirts for testers.
Certainly my dog finds her way around by both picking up and leaving scents.
Anyhow, chemical signals come in many forms, not just smell, although trees communicate with one another through pushing out scents, and I have to say one of my all time, lifelong, favorite fragrances is the smell of pine trees. We also have seen the green mists of pollen season in the forest, another kind of chemical communication.
Trees also release various chemicals when they are attacked by insects, certain toxins through their leaf systems that drive off the insect attackers and warn other trees to do the same.
In another book some years back, I also read about specific healing properties of particular trees that are cultivated in Japan for people to walk through to enjoy healing properties similar to people taking the waters in Europe, or healing springs.
The book I am reading is The Hidden Life of TREES: What they Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben, a German professional forester.
In a separate subject, I once read how German immigrants were shocked at the spoilage of agricultural practices in America in the periods of the 1700 and 1800. Having limited land, German farmers already practiced crop rotation and other agricultural improvements to keep their soil vigorous. At the same time, in America, over planting of the same crops, in particular tobacco and cotten, ruined the soil and engendered the land grabs of the Westward expansion. Wasteful farmers including Jeferson and Washington, destroyed their soil and just bought more forest land, cleared it and ruined new land, then moved on.
I cant help thinking it is much the way these early capitalists exploited labor, both enslaved, indentured and exploited factory workers during those periods before abolition and unions gave a voice to the exploited and oppresed.
So far, I am not very smart with my smart phone but my daughter put an app on my new iphone that I haven't used yet but about which I am excited. It is called Snapleaf, and you can take a photo of a tree and get it identified with this app. An app I would like to get but haven't done the research yet is a tracking app, that would follow me in the woods and help me find my way out again. I haven't been lost often, but the couple of times I was, I would have loved to have had some help. If you know of such an app, write me at
Happy Trails and Healthful Hiking!