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Trees: The Fountains of Life

A grove of trees on an island

Trees. They are all around us. They come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and colors. They each have a unique scent, a unique feel, a unique purpose. But have you ever really thought about what immense life forces they are? How much power they hold and how much they give to us?

The following excerpt is from Trees of Power by Akiva Silver. It has been adapted for the web.


Trees in fog stand without leaves, dark stems in a maze of inexhaustible intricacy. Patterns laid upon patterns in a seeming randomness that gives way to a single beautiful scene. These life fountains spring from the ground, rising from a dark and mysterious world fully charged with life. They rise and rise and then spread. From the end of every branch tip drip the fountains. Seeds rain down, feeding birds and mammals. We breathe these trees through our lungs, shelter ourselves with their wood, and fill our bodies with the energy of their fruit.

These fountains of life are incredible beings that perform so many services for free and indefinitely.

They have the ability to reproduce themselves, run on sun and rain, build wood out of carbon in the sky, create flavors, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, medicine, and vitamins. We are just tiny animals scampering beneath them, picking up their gifts as fast as we can, because there is not enough time to keep up with the rain of presents. The feel of autumn in the wind pushes us to gather faster, filling bucket after bucket. The harvest looks staggering. It fills trucks and porches. Where will we put it all? and How will we have time to process all this? are some of the thoughts we have, and still there is so much more lying on the ground. Millions of pounds in my county alone.

Large tree in the woods with many branches“Mind if I gather nuts off  your lawn?” They are waste to my culture; it’s a chore to rake them up off the grass. The gifts of the trees, of thUniversese, are largely ignored. It is a strange world indeed. I can’t explain the physical joy I feel filling buckets with nuts. Crawling around on my hands and knees surrounded by a staggering abundance, I sometimes laugh out loud like a madman and look around to see if anyone heard me. Sometimes a guy on a bicycle stares at me. But I have no time to worry about that. It is the harvest season and I am flying high. I need to keep reminding myself to stay calm.

The heart of the gatherer is one of gratitude and amazement.

I have been astounded so many times harvesting. As I start to pick up the first bushels of wild pears, I realize just how much is there. I sell wild pears to a cidery that presses them into perry (pear wine, which is a very excellent drink with a long history in Europe). Last fall my family and a friend gathered over 3,000 pounds of wild pears from a handful of trees in two days. Over 1,000 pounds came from a single tree. Seeing that much fruit does something to you. It is impossible not to be impressed even if you aren’t interested in pears. But we are interested; it’s a part of our livelihood, and each bushel is cash. We gather with speed and efficiency, sometimes chatting, sometimes working silently. It is good work, work our bodies and minds were built for. At night we see pears when we close our eyes. We have a connection to those trees. We care what happens to them. To us, it seems like a good idea to plant more of them. The highest level of appreciation comes through participation.

Trees are some of the most enjoyable beings on Earth to work with.

If you watch for them, they will overwhelm you sometimes. It will seem like they are merely offering you thousands of pounds of food and seed for free, but they have their own interests at heart. By taking from them, you will be helping them. You will be partnered. Your work on this world does not have to be drudgery or bad for the planet. By working with trees we can find abundance and spread it.

Life circles around trees; it is drawn in like a magnet. One crab apple tree in the middle of winter will pull in birds, possums, mice, deer, raccoons, wild children, and countless other forms of life. Animals and people will travel for miles to gather persimmons and chestnuts. Songbirds will flock to mulberries. These are magnetic trees, fountains of life that shower the Earth with abundant gifts. When we become aware of these trees, we can begin to work with them and elevate the level of abundance in our world to staggering heights.Grove of trees looking toward the sky

Humans can have a positive influence on nature. We can enhance ecosystems to the benefit of ourselves and wildlife at the same time. I see a world filled with endless opportunity. There are gifts falling down all around us. Many folks don’t see them at all, even while they are taking the time to pick up these presents and throw them away. This book is a guide and a catalyst. I hope that it helps you realize there is good work to do everywhere and that you can be a positive force for nature and for yourself. You can harvest food and medicine, make money, breathe gratitude, and leave beauty in your wake by working with trees. They are filled with power, and that power is freely offered to us. Partnering with trees is as natural as breathing. We inhale their exhalations and they inhale ours. We are designed to work with each other.

The trees in this book are my allies.

They feed me, keep me warm, provide money, shelter, medicine, and tools. These beings that feed on light do amazing work. Fruit, nuts, flowers, shade, wildlife, and wood—trees are offering, always offering. Stretched toward the sky, rooted into the earth, they offer a partnership. I think you will find, if you work with trees, that they are extremely generous beings. You will find yourself showered in more abundance than you are able to receive. I would rather partner with trees than any bank, institution, or lawmaker. These trees are my allies and they can be yours, too.

Every seed, cutting, or small tree that you ever hold in your hands wants to live. It wants the same thing you do. You are its ally as much as it yours. You are able to see and do things that are not possible for the plant. Humans can be amazing helpers to the plants we choose to work with. Alliances work both ways.

Where there is a dry rocky soil, we can change that. Where there are strip mines, eroded hillsides, or poisoned ground, we can add plants, who can do the healing work that’s needed. They will do the work of bringing things back, they will build the soil and feed the birds. They can make it all happen, and they will, with or without us. The plants are the stewards of the Earth, taking care of all the animals, feeding us all.

If you want to add carbon to the soil, you can dig a hole and shovel it in. You can also let roots extend down through cracks in the rock and deposit carbon for you. Let the plants do the work. They want to.


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Snakes and Ladders & Tantalising Figs

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