Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘trees communicating

Underground Conversations

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After listening to a Radiolab podcast Cyndie turned on while we were eating breakfast (From Tree to Shining Tree) about the complex web of fungi and tree roots underground, I decided to head out for a bike ride yesterday. I chose a route that retraced the last leg of the great 60-mile ride from Minneapolis to Beldenville that my friend, Paul Keiski and I planned in recognition of our 60th birthdays.

That last section always haunts me for the wrong turn I made that moved our 60-mile ride closer to a 70-mile one. I have a history of confusing my orientation and choosing turns that are 180° in the wrong direction. The right turn I made on that fateful day almost four years ago makes absolutely no sense. It was really hot and I was very fatigued but that turn should have been entirely obvious.

Every time I have ridden those roads since that day, I take great pleasure in making the correct turn without a moment of hesitation. Yesterday, I rode 32 miles of country roads past farms with freshly mowed grass, an occasional horse, and a lot of lounging cows. I spotted multiple patches of flowering trillium and a lot of trees with newly sprouted leaves.

There is so much happening in the plant world right now, I began to wonder about how many underground conversations must be occurring throughout the incredible network of roots and fungi in the dirt. How much energy must be traveling up all the countless number of tree branches during this phase when buds open and leaves emerge?

Our forests are starting to look like forests again.

Seeing all the leaves pop out tells me the network of underground communication must be functioning well in our woods. I’m particularly thrilled that the maple tree we transplanted to the center of the labyrinth (after our first three attempts failed) appears to have made the necessary underground connections to thrive.

I can’t imagine what those conversations must have been like. We plopped that tree into the ground in a location that isolated it from any other existing trees. At least, that’s the way it looked from above ground. Down in the dirt, I’m guessing there were more tentacles of growing roots and fungi than one might expect. Thank goodness for that if that’s what it took for this one to survive the trauma of being moved.

Thinking about this makes me want to take as much care to nurture our forest floor as I direct toward the trees above.



Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2023 at 6:00 am