If Trees Had Feelings, We'd Still Make Paper

It isn’t every day
you get knocked sideways
by something new,
but today I learned that
trees
can talk to each other,
and have been doing so
millions of years before talking was a thing.
Bluffs of birch and aspen
and butternut,
groves of maple, oak, and spruce
they all live under
canopies of interdependent
co-ops.
These soaring columns of
sequoia, sassafras and cottonwood
with their arching branches
draw our eyes upward
to their gorgeous
outspreading crowns, the air lifting off their leaves is the air we breath.
But the real action takes place
underground,
just a few inches below our
fat clumsy feet.
Trees with their deep network of roots
are connected with the help of
underground funghi
allowing them to
share water and nutrients
and even breaking news
with each other.
They send distress signals about
drought and disease,
or impending insect attacks.
They even give water and nutrients
to younger saplings,
to keeping them alive
just long enough
until they too can finally
touch the sky.

While we’ve been looking up at them,
they’ve been tickling each other
with whispers and chatter,
gossiping about us perhaps,
down here, right under our toes
in a secret language coded in
a prehistoric script,
transmitted through the
wood wide web.