The Tree Chorus


“How goes it with the Humans?”
Asked Minnehaha the Giant Douglas Fir
From her safe Old Growth enclave
in the Mount Rainier National Forest.
The question vibrated from her miles of roots
picked up by the thick mesh of fungal mycelium.
“The Humans?!” echoed back the Giant Sequoias
“Those fools who killed a million of our kind
And silenced the 10,000 year old Tree Chorus?”
“I know the Autumn Solo, like my grandparents”
Bragged a large Rocky Mountain Maple.
“Not so fast! We were backup singers,”
the Sugar and Broadleaf sisters announced.
“It was the Pines that the Humans were after”
said the Black Hawthorn,
pointing accusingly at the Evergreens.
“It’s not their fault they make good lumber,”
the Cascara came to the rescue
as the Hooker’s Willows relaxed
and bent with the breeze
and the Cottonwoods grew a foot taller but no bigger around.
The Madrona were too busy watching the waves and tides to get involved in this discussion,
but the Hawthorns and Blue Spruce remembered hearing about the chorus.
“Our ancestors all had parts in the song and opened their roots wide to sing.
Some sang all year, others joined in the Summer. Tall thickets sung hushed low notes.
Alder and Ash carried the melody. A million trees sang that ancient chorus;
Roots hummed underground. The ice melted and the singing started.
Humans were here and seemed to feel the chorus with their bare feet.”

“How goes it with the boot -wearing Humans?” asked Minnehaha again.
Her question spread out across the Northwest from tree to tree.
“Maybe they are growing up, ” suggested the Dogwoods after weeks of silence.
“They want to plant 1,000,000 sapling trees.
The air we cleaned for them has gotten full of delicious carbon.”
“Some are learning” offered a Birch standing unprotected at the edge of a parking lot.
The Bitter Cherry just sighed, closed her eyes, strained and strained,
and popped out a million blossoms for thankful bees.

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