A Day Of Sleeping and Reading

The Robin’s Nest in the low bush

Fate and Zinnia run under the Japanese Honeysuckle ahead of me.  It’s the perfect height for them, but I’d have to crawl to get through it.  I’ve been ducking under that bush for years, it’s one of the archways that lead me further into the Orphaned Woods. But now it’s lower than usual.

When I get closer I see the dead branch that fell on top of the bush pushing it down.  It’s only as I reach to remove the branch that I see the robin’s nest and four bright blue eggs.

The blue is like neon among all the spring greens that color the woods.  I can’t take my eyes off them.  For the first time, I wonder why they are so blue.  Then I snap out of it.  The mother must be nearby, waiting for me to leave.  I take a picture and walk carefully around the bush.

That was a few days ago.

Today I’m laying on the couch spending my time reading and sleeping.  My stomach is queasy and I’m too tired to do much more than feed the animals and throw the fabric that Judy and Fran sent me into the washer and dryer.

I tell myself that if I rest today, I’ll feel better tomorrow.  And I believe it.

I’m halfway through Suzanne Simard’s book Finding The Mother Tree, Discovering The Wisdom Of The Forest.   It’s a memoir about Simard’s discoveries of how the trees in the forest are connected by a network of fungus that transport nutrients, minerals, and water between them.

I don’t get all the science, but I do get the essence of what she is writing about.

It’s because of this book that this year I planted the ten saplings that I got from The Arbor Day Society in the woods close to other trees instead of in a clearing as I’ve done in the past.

The place I chose for them is in a grove of young Hornbeam trees.  Their smooth bark is so like the stretched muscles of an athlete that they always seem to be in movement to me.  The soil beneath them is moist and rich.   I planted a couple of the seedlings in the humus of a fallen birch.

I never thought of how seedlings grow in the shade of the trees around them.  That they need sunlight, but not a pounding sun.  And now I know that the saplings have a better chance of surviving when their roots grow mycorrhizal fungus which connects them to the roots of other trees and helps nourish them and even find water under the ground.

It is this network of fungus that all those mushrooms that I found in the woods last year grow from.

As I lay on the couch, reading about the old-growth forests in the mountains of British Columbia, I’m thinking of the woods behind the farm.

Tomorrow when I’m feeling better and I’m watering the saplings I’ll be wondering if they’re growing that life giving fungus on the tips of their roots.  And I’ll be thinking about the world below my feet as well as the one above.

9 thoughts on “A Day Of Sleeping and Reading

  1. Your picture brought to mind the color described as ‘Robin egg blue’. I had an idea of the color but not sure I’ve actually seen the eggs. Now ‘Robin egg blue’ has a definite place on my color wheel. And it’s beautiful!

  2. Lois, I don’t think I’ve ever had a really good idea of the color till I saw these eggs. The broken shells I’ve found don’t even have this intensity. And the photo was very accurate in the color too.

  3. Maria, it is new to me about root systems gathering nutrients from mycorrhizal fungus. I would have to study that further to fully understand the process. How wonderful to know it is not about competing for food to simply survive . It is comforting also that when something good appears, space opens for it. Truly my father’s house has many rooms. The connectedness is humbling. Thank you for this. Veronica

  4. Hi Maria, just sharing with you about feeling queasy which can be exhausting if persistent. Try ginger capsules, candied ginger, and sometimes even a dramamine tablet. I got this advice from my healthfood store staff and it really helps. Use your own judgment, just a suggestion. Hopefully you feel better!

  5. The way in which tree roots and their fungus communicate and support each other is a powerful example for humanity. I always think of a tree as “she” which fits with the sense of community amongst trees, and amongst creative, artistic women like yourself in my experience.

  6. One of the issues that Suzanne Simard was up against was just that idea that was the belief that trees were only competitive. I havent’ finished the book yet, but I know at least she proves that they are also if not only collaborative. It reminds me of what you write about Verionica, in our need for each other and taking special care of our children who are so important for our future.

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