Recently, curious botanists asked a “what if?” question about trees: What if trees have a kind of intelligence and a means of communication? This question led them to what one calls “the hidden life of trees.” They learned that trees living in family or community groups do indeed communicate, their roots meeting deep underground to offer support and nutrients, especially in dangerous environments. But even trees, with all their ancient intelligence, can’t withstand the devastation caused by global warming and worldwide deforestation. Maybe we need to ask several more questions: What if humans and trees are part of the same community, our deepest roots so firmly entwined that we will die or thrive together? And what if the body of Christ embraces in love humans, trees, and every atom in the universe? And, finally, what if these outrageous, hidden possibilities guided our attitudes and actions, beginning today?
By Mara Faulkner, OSB