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The conference hall was packed full. Five hundred people leaned forward to watch as an elder from a First Nations community along the B.C. coast moved down the aisle towards the microphones on stage. His red-and-black blanket cloak swished as he walked; the mother-of-pearl buttons adorning it flashed back at the spotlights following him.
This happened long before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for better relationships with Canada’s indigenous peoples. But the church, my church, was making its first tentative moves towards that goal.
The old man – he may not actually have been old, but he was older than I was, and he had a deeply weathered face – climbed the stairs onto the stage. He took the microphone from its stand. He held it to his mouth.
We waited, breathlessly, for his words of wisdom.
“We are the salmon,” he said.
Then he put the microphone back, and left the stage.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: forests, Salmon, coastal tribes, circle of life, bears
You’ve probably seen pictures of human nerves – a central neuron with axons and dendrites radiating out from it like the roots of a tree. (If not, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron)
The neuron is the trunk, the central core, that contains the cell’s nucleus. The axons and dendrites are the extended arms that connect with other nerve cells to transmit information.
The resemblance to tree roots may be more than coincidence. UBC-Okanagan forest ecology professor Suzanne Simard has proven conclusively that trees communicate with each other through their roots.
Dig into the soil of any forest, and you’ll find a network of tree roots, overlapping, inter-weaving. You probably won’t see the second component of communication, the invisible filaments of fungi.
Simard’s research demonstrates, beyond dispute, that trees send messages, and food, to each other through their roots, with those fungal filaments bridging the gaps in much the same way that synapses work in the human brain.
Tags: Suzanne Simard, roots, forests, consciousness, brains, lobotomy