He Knows When You Are Sleeping

January 26, 2013

Even though I was born in and love being in the city, I walk in the forest as frequently as possible.

Nature, trees, and solitude always clear my slate like the shaking of an Etch A Sketch. And I find that I am energized in ways working out on an elliptical trainer can’t touch.

This time of year all the trees in this particular forest are barren. Months ago they sensed the cooler temperatures and fading light of fall, shed their leaves and went dormant.

lotsa trees

They sleep, but like you and me… don’t stop living in their slumber.

As I walk below them, I wonder. What of their environment do they still sense?

Can they tell I am walking beneath?  Or feel the birds still sitting in their branches?

Are they still exhaling what I inhale, and inhaling what I exhale? Does their bark breath slow in winter or just plain stop?

Researchers now believe (some) plants hear. Actually respond to sounds and make sounds of their own to communicate. This evolving field of plant linguistics is called bioacoustics.

Apparently their speech is of and in a frequency that is optimized for transmission through soil. That makes sense – whales sing to each other in a language and style that is optimized for water.

I’m guessing trees don’t talk as quickly as a defense lawyer in the OJ trial. Maybe the tree that currently has the floor started her current sentence last year, or five years ago and the sound is just coming out now.  Tree time is undoubtedly a different pace – slower or faster than ours

And what are they talking about?  Tree gossip, no doubt – like whether there are pests in the area, or if a drought is coming on.

OK, so trees and plants may actually smell and talk and hear. I mean really. Just because we are only now learning how to measure the phenomena doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening all along.

But what, exactly, are they doing that makes me feel so good when I walk among them?

Trees and other aspects of nature are a portal. Nodes in the cosmic energy field. That I tap into. And use to tune myself. Re-calibrate my awareness of the interconnectedness of it all.

Energy is the currency of the universe.  Nothing is ever accomplished without energy exchange. From the fire of the stars to the firing of neurons in our own body, sensing and tapping into these flows of energy helps put our worldly issues into perspective. And keeps the sun in the sky.

As the made world becomes connected electronically through yet another new nervous system – the internet of things – remember what lies beneath the new and the bright… what is hidden under the electronic billboard.

The whole world has always been connected. The whole world knows when you are sleeping. Or when you’re awake.



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie January 27, 2013

Love this post it is the Thoreau in you Alex. And I wonder some of the same things about this mystery of death and rebirth with the seasons in each one of us as is in nature. Thanks again for some wonderful food for thought.

viewser January 27, 2013

Thanks for the kind words, Les.
Interconnectedness, like global warming, seems to have finally been accepted by most humans as a truth.
But because most of us come from a place of self-interest, it is usually hard to remember there is someone or something on the other end of the exchange. We take. But what do we give?

Jim Sutherland January 30, 2013

I’m with you, my brother from another mother, walking the trails, to get away from the grind and to feel the strength of the trees and the sensitivity of the tiny creatures along the way.

viewser January 30, 2013

The designers of Central Park in NYC made the paths curved to give everyone a break from the angles of the city. There are no straight lines. Design that informed artists and engineers pioneered in NYC to bring re-recreation to the masses.

Jan Johnsen February 1, 2013

Alex – what a fabulous post! Thank You. When we were in Music & Art together, I won the Manhattan Science Fair for M & A with my experiment on ‘the effect of sound on the growth of plants’…Mrs Gordeon, my bio teacher, thought it was ridiculous and laughed out loud when I told her my experiment. But then I took first prize for the school….Plants respond to high frequency sounds. The vibrations open the pores in the leaf that breathe in CO2. This helps their metabloism and they grow faster. Who supplies this sound? Birdsong! in the morning!

viewser February 1, 2013

Hi Jan – It is wonderful to hear from you. I love that you found your interest and passion so early, and have been able to build your life’s work around it. I also appreciate that your research preceded the university research by (a few years). And that you had the fearlessness to pursue your thesis despite detractors.

But most of all, I love that I feel better when I hear birdsong in the morning too! You know, I worked for Betsy Barlow (the first Central Park Administrator) when that office was first set up — just as the Central Park Conservancy was getting going. My friends used to tell me that working in the Arsenal was the most prestigious address in NYC! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Take care.

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