Why Trees Sleep in Winter

Pan

In the local paper last week (mid-January) there was a feature on a group who were going to go out wassailing to “wake up the trees” this week in a community apple orchard. The trees are asleep and unresponsive right now, as it’s still cold outside.

Think about what you know about trees, about the sap rising in warm spring weather as it thins and flows, and suppleness increasing with fluid moving about their bodies and limbs. They’re less brittle, and less likely to break. Their most vulnerable time is when the wind blows hard in the winter and they are stiff.

There’s a rhythm to the tree year similar to hibernating animals that sleep all winter long. They choose to take all their rest at once in the quiet and cold times so they can be awake day and night in the summertime. They enjoy something many of you have forgotten to experience; long, soft summer nights with night birds, animals, insects and stars. They can spend time with everyone that way, the day creatures and the night ones. And everyone gets to spend time with them, which goes into the heart of what they are doing here on this planet. They are the guardians of the other life forms; they protect and inform, teach and explain over and over with love and patience. They are respected and revered for their wisdom, and seen as the strongest ally in the natural world. They put themselves right out there on the front line where they’re vulnerable to winter winds, matches and axes. They are a target for some, and a teacher for others. Wherever they are present they change the environment for the better through love.

Only you humans are insensible to the life in front of your eyes.

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In the Cabrini Green housing estate in Chicago, a fairly rough area, there were trees on only half the large estate. That was the half with the lowest crime figures. Other than the trees there were no noticeable differences.