- Author: Lanie Keystone
This is a book about Community. This is a book about relationships. This is a book about the poetry of trees. This is a book about the hidden connections of all of us on our planet. And, this is a “love song” to the natural world and how and we all belong to it.
The Songs of Trees is written by the gifted scientist and author, David George Haskell. Chosen as “One of the Best Science Books of 2017” by Science Friday and Brain Pickings and winner of the John Burroughs Medal for Outstanding Natural History Writing, Haskell has been compared to Rachel Carson in his ability to write in a poetic-prose aesthetic about science.
Haskell begins his book by beckoning the reader to join him on a wondrous journey by telling us, “Living memories of tree, manifest in their songs, tell of life's community, a net of relations. We, humans, belong within this conversation, as blood kin and incarnate members. To listen is therefore to hear our voices and those of our family….To listen is, therefore, to touch a stethoscope to the skin of a landscape, to hear what stirs below.”
And, with that invitation, Haskell takes us on a fantastic journey above, below, around and within 12 uniquely different trees in 12 uniquely diverse countries and environments. We first meet him literally atop the canopy of a Ciebo tree in Ecuador. We are introduced to all of the life swarming, crawling, jumping and surviving on top of, then below this magnificent tree. It is at once a grand adventure and a lovely meditation on just this one specimen.
And so it goes from the Balsam Fir in Western Ontario, to a month-by-month exploration of the Green Ash in Tennessee, the Olive in Jerusalem, the Japanese White Pine in Japan—and eight more around the world. Haskell takes us to trees in cities, forests and “areas on the front lines of environmental change.” We see him listening, probing and peering into all aspects of connections of these 12 species and their infinite connections and communication not only with others of their own kind but with all life around them. We see that the interconnections are the powerful support system for maintaining health, growth, and survival of all life around them.
In each locale, we see how human history, ecology and well-being are intertwined with the lives of trees. Haskell shows how these interconnections are the foundation of all life. We learn that in our fragile world being more and more confined by barriers—that life's essence and beauty depend on relationships and interdependence.