I read Lab Girl Last year. The Memoir by Hope Jahren. I sat in my reading chair, glancing out my window at the trees, pausing with thought. The trees had not changed, but the way I saw them did. They were no longer just a tree. I love when a book can do that. Change a perspective. Peter Wohlleben, with his very apparent love of trees, shares with us even more to wonder about as we saunter our neighborhoods, nature trails and forests. The more I learn about our ecosystem the more I am amazed with its complex and awe-inspiring beauty. His book, The Hidden Life of Trees is one, that once again, opened my mind to a wondrous new view previously unknown.
Anyone who has an appreciation for nature will reap something from this book. I am no scientist. I have never even pretended to be one, unless you consider dreaming of being Indian Jones, The Raiders of the Lost Arc version, not the Temple of Doom version. An Anthropologist Adventurer, minus the science, extra dash of adventure. This book helped clear the fog on the window, clearing my ability to view trees and their lives in new light, exposing more of a mysterious unknown hidden world to me. You will learn how the trees work with each other as well as the network of characters that they impact and those characters that impact them. You will learn what makes them tick. The Trees, insects, fungi, birds, squirrels, moss, algae… I could go on and on.
The author uses popular language to share much more than I thought I could comprehend. I was not lost in a deluge of science mumbo-jumbo. I was lost in a world he opened up to me. It was even funny in moments. Dare I say… I was entertained while I learned. Not an easy thing to accomplish. His writing seemed effortless, more conversation than a lecture. I cannot vouch for his science but at the ending of the book Susanne Simard, a forest ecologist, leaves us a note. She has worked more than thirty years in the field and is currently doing scientific studies such as those discussed in the book. She is at the University of British Colombia in Canada. Her research confirms most of Wohlleben’s observations about the communication among trees.
I grew up in California and the Redwoods made a great impression on me. The fact that they were so old, that they had been witness to so much history, was beyond imagination. Peter Wohlleben helps us understand that we are like insect to the trees. Here one minute and gone the next. We are just an annoyance that must be tolerated for a moment of their long prolific life. Time for them is nothing like ours definition of time. I will now better appreciate the view in the short time I have with them. I will notice branches growing suddenly upward to avoid its neighbor and give the other its share of light. I will notice the bark grown over a wound like the scabs I once had on my limbs as a child. I will notice the birds who clean them of insects that would otherwise harm them. I will notice them.