8th November 2016 @ Zoniënwoud

Tree walk in the forest to informally talk about expectations, needs and offers.

Hosts: Rasa and Ingrid Participants: Stevie, Michka, Ingrid, Rasa

The beginning


Why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.

Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance.

[…]

A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.

From “The Secret Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

We went for a walk through the forest to encounter the different species living there together. We encountered the Oak - with its wisdom from the past, the Elderflower tree - the apothecary of the forest, the Hazelnut - ensuring there is magic in the air, the Hornbeam - showing off his strength and body builder skills, Rasa’s family members the Alder, showing us a future of resilience, the Larch - unsophisticated abundance and efficiency in reproduction and the elegant Beech - nursing a fragile community.

During a tasty cold picnic we contemplated our own roles in the “forest” of hosting community and for what values we stand for. Michka brings the scientific brain. Stevie realised she might be a 'beech', touched by the resemblance of the forest to a cathedral and bringing to the group her ensemble skills. Ingrid sees a reflection in the combination between the hazel and the larch, with an interest in tricks and magic, spreading around ideas and energy in an unsophisticated way and enjoying that. Rasa brings the capacity of unblocking flow and leading rivers past obstructions.

It was interesting again to realise the diversity of our small group and the need for this diversity. We thought this was a very useful exercise and it brought us to the following point we would like to bring to the larger group in one of the upcoming assemblies:

What we need from the group is a codification & clarification of roles and what each of us wants to offer into the group as “our common knowhow”. We would like to know and define how we can approach each other for that.

Cold but happy


More photos from the walk here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/foam/albums/72157676662174386