Sunday, November 10, 2019

survival of the altruistic

Miracle in the Forest

how do we see a forest?

is it a field that needs clearing?
is it board feet for houses and furniture?
is it so beyond us that we should fear it?
in our history the farm claimed it, so did the logger,
early settlers on this continent felt horrors 
impinging on them from it, 

I understand how much we are creatures of the sky,
from whence cometh the Light, and God, 
at least it feels so to us,

our scientific research increasingly realizes 
a forest is a community,
not “tooth and nail” in its competitiveness, 
but so cooperative and connected
that in there evolution speaks of survival of the altruistic,
not the zero-sum our minds want to force on the world,
for we humans want to win,
and the rest of life must then lose to us,

the more scientists ask the right questions of a forest,
the more is revealed of trees combining with each other,
taking care of each other,
and not just with offspring,

I particularly love the fungi,
that vast network within the soil
that fruits above the ground for us with mushrooms,
but does far more than we can yet fathom,
of connecting, of contributing, of recycling,

the Cherokee felt a connection with the plant world,
allies in a human struggle with the animal world,
maybe we should feel that connection too,

photosynthesis is the great miracle
that enables energy from the Sun
to fuel plant, and then animal,

the Sun is as God to us,
the leaf enables God 
to work her magic on the world.

by Henry H. Walker
November 8, ‘19

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