WITNESSING TREE SPIRITS IN ORDINARY REALITY
Our property on the Bay of Quinte is home to several species of native trees. In one area we call the glen, we’ve been witnessing an ongoing onslaught by invasive insects. Over a period of three to four years we watched helplessly as the ash trees slowly lost their battles to the Ash Borer Beetle. It bores pencil holes into the bark, then tunnels under it, robbing the trees of vital sap. Simultaneous attacks by tent caterpillars forced the trees to leaf out twice in the same season depleting their reserves.
The first tree to come down was a 60 foot specimen that was still mostly alive when we felled it. It came down with a heavy thud that shook the little glen, and sent my son and me running for cover. We bucked the branches and left the trunk for another day.
Three nights later I awoke around 4:30 AM for a bathroom visit, and became wide awake afterwards. Since it was a mild October night, I put on my bathrobe and slippers in the dark, and decided to walk down to the glen to make a rare, early morning meditation.
As I descended into the glen I hit something. I had forgotten about the felled tree laying in the middle of the very dark glen. Even though my eyes were dark adapted, I did not see the branches lying on the ground until I walked into them. As I peered into the darkness before me, my eyes took in a faint ribbon of light stretching away from me for many feet into the night’s darkness. I had to take a few steps back to catch my breath and regain my balance.
Puzzled, I walked back up to the rim of the glen from where I could see that there were no patches of low-lying fog forming anywhere down in the glen. The night sky above was clear and starlit, and I could not see any sky shine from other ground sources. I gave the long sliver of glowing light a wide berth so as not to disturb it, as I walked around to approach it from another angle to see if I could discover its source and extent. This time as I got closer, I could make out a soft grey-blue glow hovering over the full length of the carcass of the tree. As my mind took in the significance of the scene my head dropped intuitively out of respect for what I knew in my heart was a lifeforce leaving the dying tree. I said some words of regret, and my body started to shake with excitement or cold, as I sat in quiet wonder.
The glow disappeared as the morning light entered the glen. I rushed to the house to investigate the strange light on-line. My cursory research suggested that the grey-blue glow fit the pattern for bioluminescence from decaying organic matter. The common name is Foxfire or Will ‘o the Wisp, and it was documented long ago. The usual sources are decaying matter and fungi, and the glow is so faint that it can only be observed if your eyes have been dark adapted. Apparently, the light is produced by a pair of special enzymes present in decaying matter which react with each other to release biophotons of soft light. After discussing the tree’s eerie glow with an experienced woodsmen and chemist, I chose the simple explanation that the light I had observed that morning came from rotting sawdust created under the ash bark by destructive beetle activity.
A few days later I started to dissect the trunk for firewood, and I noticed how thick the bark was, and how little actual sawdust had been produced by the beetle invaders. The amount of sawdust under the bark was trivial, and it just didn’t seem possible that so little organic matter could produce all the light that I had observed. In addition, the bark was so thick that it would surely absorb all the light photons completely. More compelling, was the sudden realization that the rest of the ash trees that were still standing were equally infected, but they did not give off any visible light emissions on that night. As the realization sank in; that the eerie glow over the dying ash tree was most likely its life force or spirit leaving the dying carcass, it sent a chill up my spine.
I consulted some of the top forestry research and management experts in Canada, who ruled out an explosion of the Armillaria fungus, that glows in the dark forest, and can spread over large areas of forest floor and acts as a communication system for trees. It became clear that the unusual glow could not be explained satisfactorily by natural processes. I reviewed my personal impressions as I witnessed the event, keeping in mind that my human presence in the glen could have perturbed the natural electromagnetic field energies present on that morning. The physical evidence I observed that morning informed me (mentally and spiritually) that spirits live in trees. Why is there no documentation of this anywhere? Can only autistic eyes discern spirits and things that glow in the night? Now I see trees differently. Wherever there are trees, there is abundant life. They’re like living fasteners that connect the sky with the earth. Because they live in both worlds, they act as a conduit of communication between them.
FMRI studies reveal that consciousness is still measurably present after the brain/body has died, telling us that consciousness is not the result of biological processes. Science supports the theory that trees have intelligence, because trees have been observed to mount organized defences against a deadly threat like invading insects. Planning and strategizing require creative thought.
When the rest of the ash group is felled this spring, they will hopefully provide more opportunities to study this undocumented phenomenon, perhaps with a night vision camera.
Shamanic and other spiritual cultures around the world honour and use sacred trees as: portals or gateways to hidden worlds, sources of wisdom, and even wish fulfillment. To name just a few, the Mohawks of North America honour the cedar as the sacred tree of life. The Caribe natives honour the ceiba tree, and West African’s have spiritual relationships with the iroko tree.
The visible light emissions coming from the ash tree trunk 3 days after it was cut down, proved to me with high confidence that trees have a spiritual nature that gives them life, and it can be observed and possibly documented under the right conditions.