Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, encouraging participation, and networking.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tree Make Paper, Paper makes Books, Writers Study Trees

In an earlier entry I remarked that I was reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohleben, a Forester in a protected forest in Germany.  I LOVE this book:  "A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.: page 17.  Trees have been my friends from the first poor prisoner locked into a three foot square of earth on the city block of row homes where I grew up in Philadelphia.  You always remember your first love.

A much later tree experience I had was in the Black Forest of Germany when I was living there with my former husband, a soldier stationed at Wharton Barracks, Heilbronn, Germany in 1968 and 69.  The canopy of those fragrant giants was so dense that it was dark at noon.  But most impressive to me at the time was the immeasureably thick needle carpet upon which I tread and which released an intoxicating perfume of evergreen when you stepped.  

Also in Europe, once, at midnight when we had missed our train back to the campground, we had to walk through the Bois du Bologne, which took so long that we walked through a night in the forest, and I watched enchanted as spirals of mist rose from the earth to twist and curve as they joined the low falling fog that turned everything silvery and mysterious.  It was indeed the Enchanted Forest.  

Now I live in a small preserve of my own, of 18 neighborhood trees planted roughly around the time of the second world war.  We are a tiny oasis of decimated land.  All the neighbors cut their trees down when leaves became unpopular and they became too old, too lazy or too poor to arrange to have the leaves removed.  I bought a mulch mower and I pay a guy to run it over the yard, which grinds the leaves to enrich my soil and help keep my old trees healthy.  

My latest book on this subject is as good if not better than the first mentioned.  It is called The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell, and it tells about his year of watching a plot of a nearby forest in Tennessee.  He is a science professor in a college near there.  It is delightful readingm "This is where the snowflakes symmetry begins.  Hexagonal rings of water molecules build on one another, repeating the six sided rhythm over and over, magnifying the arrangement of oxygen atoms in a scale visible to human eyes."  pg 9.  

To my dying day, I hope I have the delight I have had since childhood when the first now falls.  Even at night, I would take my daughter into the yard to look up into the black sky and see and feel the magic of the snow falling and kissing our faces.  

These are the books I am reading about the woods, but I have another waiting, and this one is about people and what the internationally renowned entomologist/philosopher, and nature writer, Edward O. Wilson learned from watching ant societies all over the world.  it is called On Human Nature.  Like the other books mentioned, since we are in fact a part of the community or family of nature, we can learn a lot about ourselves as well as the world that supports us from these books.

More on that later, right now I'm off to Mount Holly to meet an old friend from my high school days for lunch at The Robin's Nest. 2 Washington Street, Mount Holly.  To find out more about this delightful cafe' call 609-261-6149 or google it.  They have a web site.

Happy Trails!  Hope they take you through the forest
Jo Ann 

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