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Jan 7, 2024

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." --Marcel Proust

Songs of Trees

Just how much is in one tiny patch of forest? Biologist and author David George Haskell found himself visiting the same square meter of forest again and again over the course of a year, and then many years since. "When we walk into a forest, we're not walking into a place that is full of separate interacting individuals ... We're walking into a living network, a place where every creature exists only through relationships with others ... Every leaf on a tree has hundreds of species of bacteria and fungi living within its leaves. Without those other species, the leaf cannot function; it gets overrun by pathogens ... What is true for a tree is also true for an individual human. Our bodies are made of dozens and dozens of interacting species -- not just human cells, but bacterial and fungal cells and viruses and microbial components and so forth, and without the interconnections among all those members of the community, our bodies don't function. But it's also true at the level of culture. Culture is an extension of that network. So most of the ideas in our heads, and everything from the fundamentals of language to very sophisticated intellectual ideas, emerge from connections with other people. So our brain is a temporary locus, a temporary manifestation of a broader phenomenon, and that phenomenon is culture that connects across space and time."


Carve out time to sit and observe a little area of your neighborhood. What do you notice that you did not see before?