Words and photos by Johnny Dale
Trees are more like us than we think.
As the Silver Birch says, “you call me the mother tree, tree of endurance and survival, tree of air and water, Betula Pendula, the lady of the woods – you call me many names.”
As Birch Betula she was the first tree to colonise Europe and the North, she was the first arrival on these shores after the melting of the Ice Age, she is so strong, so tough and can colonise rapidly.
She is the nurse tree, preparing and nourishing the soil and protecting against stormy weather.
Her small leaves and branches keep the earth and soil below her so damp and don’t shade out all the light, allowing plants like primroses to flourish.
“Humans, press your little ears and the side of your cheeks against my bark in early spring, before my tender green leaves burst open and unfold.
“You can hear my blood, as in sap, rushing through my veins, rising to the top of my branches and bud tips.”
Oh Rowan Tree, Oh Rowan Tree
Our Rowan tree: “Humans call me Sorbus Aucuparia, the bright one for the red, rosy berries I bear in autumn when my leaves turn bloodlike from the dye of my lush red berries.
“Birds gorge on my sweet juicy berries, so my family is also found in Western Asia, the mountains of Morocco, Russia and as far north as the land of the reindeer.
“I survive very high mountain altitudes, as my branches are so bendy they withstand strong winds, so I can provide food for birds. shaping our own life.
“We work together, the birds eat my berries and help spread my reach, hence the range of countries I can conquer.”
Trees like birch and rowan are magical and wonderful trees, as close to us as any plant.
Their determination, toughness, and ability to grow in some of the harshest places, is a credit to them and us humans could learn a great deal in shaping our own life.
Older rowans perform and grow better in a community of younger rowans, it gives the older ones a greater lust for life and healthier energy through their roots.
They communicate through their roots and use fungus in the soil which, by the way humans, is the new internet and web of re-connecting – it’s not all about broadband and computer technology.
Trees don’t only use one method of communication.
Birch and rowan are pioneers of the land and the strongest and hardiest of trees, but they need the communication and company of others like oak, pine, juniper and willow – fellow pioneers after the last Ice Age.
Together they reproduce and colonise, adapting to new situations.
The more we understand trees, their habits and their ways, the more we can really understand climate change and who are the doctors and nurses of the soil and land, who will take care of it.
The Father of Trees
There is a family of 450 species of oak all over the world, Sessile and Common Oak grow predominantly in Scotland.
“I grow slowly and take my time. There is no rush for me as I am here for the long haul.
“While birch and rowan grow fast, I am happy to take my time. I am best planted amongst rowan, birch and alder, as when we are grown together it’s a race for the light as I feel I am getting shaded out.
“Plant me amongst the trees I am the father of trees, the provider to all nature’s living things.
“I nourish soil and am the hub of the fungi and the soil’s micro-organisms; I am the motherboard of communicators and help put good fungus into the soil so the others can communicate.
“I will live many, many years as my motto is the slower pace of life and less worries and threats, the longer I live.”
Looking at trees in different ways and understanding them better, has helped me love again, love my inner self and being and find my mojo after years of not having it.
Finding trees helped my wellbeing, my mental health and being surrounded by them inspires me greatly.
Planting them too, in the north of Scotland and also in Glasgow parks, fills me with great pride and feeling of self-worth as I learn more and spread information to others who have yet to experience trees.
Thank you Trees for changing my life, loving me back and nourishing me with your vibrant energy.