Infotainment

How to talk to a tree

How to talk to a tree
Dec 18 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/18/2019 10:55:55 AM IST

 We need to preserve what we have left of the natural world. If we are to do so, and preserve ourselves along the way, it seems to me that we must start by learning to enjoy it more.

Conservation should always be an act of celebration; and a celebration that makes use of all our senses. Take our trees. When we first learn to recognise them, if we learn at all, it is through visual clues — the diverse forms of their leaves, perhaps; round or oblong, blunt or pointed, whole or toothed, deeply divided or lobed like the fingers on a hand.

After that may come an appreciation of the different patterns and textures of their bark, or their winter silhouettes.

But, as the Mail's Be A Tree Angel campaign to plant thousands of trees goes from strength to strength, what if we could learn to recognise them not just by their physical characteristics but by the sounds they make; the wind in their leaves or the creaking and groaning of their branches?

Could it even be possible to distinguish species of tree on the basis of sound alone?

Thomas Hardy certainly thought so. No other English writer was so intimate with our woodlands as Hardy in his novel Under The Greenwood Tree, in which he describes firs as 'sobbing and moaning', the holly as 'whistling', the ash as 'hissing' and the beech as 'rustling'.         (Bob Gilbert 

for The Daily Mail.)

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