Nature Notes ~ Spring 2022
A Community of Trees
Do you love walking in the woods? Me too! There's nothing quite like enjoying a peaceful stroll in a mature forest with tall, gentle giants all around us. We can breathe deep, let go, and rest in the presence of the beautiful trees.
A great reason to spend more time in the woods is that it's actually healthy for us! My good friend, Dawn shared that one reason we feel better after "forest bathing" is because of phytoncides, airborne particles released by trees which not only have antibacterial and antifungal qualities, but also increase white blood cells in our body and boost our immune system. Being with trees helps "reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood", according to data from the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York, where the State has protected over 6 million acres of forest preserve in the Adirondack Park. Click here for more details!
Last spring, I could hardly wait to begin a new painting after an inspiring hike in a mountain forest. Then I learned about a book called, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, a German naturalist and forester. From his keen observations and research, the author shares that "forests achieve the fullness of life with tens of thousands of interwoven and interdependent species."
The author describes "trees in the forest as social beings. They can count, learn, and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the 'Wood Wide Web'; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots." Wohlleben says, "Plants process information just as animals do, but for the most part they do this much more slowly."
So let's all go outside and hug a tree! Let's celebrate the amazing forest communities in our neck of the woods!
With spring season cheer,
Brand New Painting!
Looking up into the treetops of a pretty mountain forest, the bright spring greens of new aspen leaves and soft fresh tips of the evergreens enliven our senses! The new growth inspires us as we breathe in this beautiful moment.
When you pick up a leaf and look closely at its veins, do you see the structure of a tree? In an aspen leaf, the main stem or vein looks like the tree trunk with primary branches extending from it, and smaller branches from those. The whole tree pattern is displayed in its leaves!
And have you ever noticed the Fibonacci spiral in a tree’s branch arrangement or the bracts of an evergreen cone? This spiral with its unique numerical sequence is a blueprint seen throughout nature in the petals of a rose, tree buds in early spring, seashells on a beach, and the shape of entire galaxies in the night sky. The same pattern in a tree is perfect so new growth does not block the older branches from sunlight and this spiral makes efficient use of rainfall which is directed down to the roots.
In my painting, Home for Spring Aspen & Evergreen Trees, I’ve highlighted tree patterns in the aspen leaves and spirals in the spruce, fir, and pine cones. There are five aspen leaves and five evergreen cones, each a symbol of infinite renewal and growth. Spending time in a beautiful forest renews our souls too, and lifts our spirits higher as we linger there with the trees. We take a deep breath of the fresh clean air, and we are present in the peaceful harmony of nature.
After being with the trees for a little while, are you inspired to preserve our forests even more? Awesome!! Here are some great ways to keep our communities of beautiful trees alive and thriving!
A good place to start, which I'm sure you're already doing, is to purchase recycled paper for your printers at home and at work. There are great options at Office Depot and Best Buy, and wherever you buy office supplies. Also, many greeting cards are made with recycled paper too, like Tree-Free Greetings. (Click on green text for link.)
Plus, to stop junk mail you don't need to begin with, please click on CatalogChoice and sign up! This non-profit provides a free service to cancel catalogs and other unwanted mail so you can simplify your life. They'll send merchants your opt-out request, and you can also contact merchants directly to be removed from their mailing lists.
Way to go, nature lover! Long live our beautiful forests!
Hike in the Woods at O'Fallon Park
As usual here in Colorado, winter is taking its sweet time transitioning to spring. I went for a hike in the woods at O'Fallon Park a few days ago and there was still plenty of snow on the ground. As the morning sun warmed the forest, shimmers of snow fell softly from the tree branches, all sparkly and pretty.
Here's to the magic of spring! Even if our fluorescent spring greens are still covered with snow!
Annual Earth Day Drawing Coming Soon!
On April 22 in celebration of Earth Day, I'll be drawing another winner for a free print of choice! Everyone who receives my email celebrating the new season is automatically entered in the drawing. This year's winner will be announced in the summer edition of Nature Notes.
If you'd like to leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!
With love and appreciation for the natural world, I'm inspired to share how plants and animals are connected to one another, to their ecosystem homes, and to people around the world. I bring into visual form the concept of biodiversity and the unity of all life. I hope my art helps you feel your own special connection to the land, the water, and all precious life on Earth. In our connection, lies hope. ~ Rebecca