An old water tupelo tree, its trunk split by some past cataclysm, survives on Merchants Millpond despite its grievous wounds.
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Native Americans venerated trees, especially old trees, trees weathered by time, shaped by adversity, rooted in wisdom. This old water tupelo on Merchants Millpond has been seamed and split by time and weather. It wears the years like an old man’s face, but it doesn’t stand alone.
The work of Dr. Suzanne Simrad (Finding the Mother Tree) and others has documented what our ancestors knew intuitively – everything is intimately connected, every tree in the forest, even trees seemingly dead. They are connected by a network of roots and fungi, sharing nutrients and nitrogen even among trees of different species, even among the stumps of trees felled years before.
Only recently have we come to believe everything is separate and distinct, detached and independent. That belief has served us well in the short term. We’ve harnessed the power of the sun and walked on the surface of the moon, but it has left us vulnerable and alone. We’ve become efficient but fragile.
The forest is wildly inefficient, redundant but enduring. It stands not alone but in community.
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