Spring 2022 /
/ Tree Beings
Photo by Nikolay Maslov
we are interwoven
Through photosynthesis, trees clean the air we breathe; through roots, trees stabilize the soil we step upon. Trees lift water up from the soil and out through their leaves, transpiring our water back into the air as rainfall. Billions of letters long, tree DNA includes chemical defenses that we synthesize into medicine, from pain-relieving willow bark to slippery elm for a sore throat. On cold nights, the comforting crackle of kindling brings us together, keeping us warm.
Within a forest, trees also teach us the art of relation. They shy their crowns away from each other, giving space to allow each other to grow. If one tree falls sick in a forest, the entire forest ripples in response, sending sugars and water through the mycelial network. When a tree dies, its decaying nutrients cycle on the forest floor to nurture a multitude of living beings – from woodpeckers and raccoons to fungi and young seedlings.
Trees like coastal redwoods can stay alive for millennia and longer – their sentience far beyond human comprehension. These oldest living beings on the planet are our elders, and moreover, our closest glimpses of immortality.
In our spring program series on trees, we invite you to stretch your imagination to see the cosmic significance of trees as related kin, beyond reduction into commodities like furniture, paper, and boxes of toothpicks.
Who are the trees outside of our homes—the knotty moon faces on a peeling eucalyptus, the dancing cypress home to a clan of ravens, the whispering blue oak?
How might we live more intentionally in the presence of trees, remembering our interdependence every time we look up at these giants?
Songs inspired by trees
Tree Beings / a playlist to listen to while tasting pine needles, smelling bay laurel, touching the scaly bark of old growth oak, and gazing up at redwood giants. These songs capture the magic & mystery of these beings wise beyond our human years, featuring songs by tree lovers Bon Iver, Jose Gonzales, SZA, & more. Designed to be played in the order it was created. 🙃
🗞 The Essay
They Carry Us With Them by Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder and Jeremy Seifert
Our curated picks for continuous, lifelong learning about the cosmos
Shake off your winter cobwebs to the nimble spring greens awakening all around us, poking their heads through the fertile soil.
Along the shortline, grey whale mothers steer their two-thousand pound calves towards northern waters, gently warmed by a tilting Earth.
Buoyed by record-breaking rain this fall, Chinook salmon are migrating upstream, swimming under the Golden Gate’s traffic to seek viable freshwater streams.
Burrowing owls prepare to hatch chicks in South Bay’s grasslands, while new pups emerge from coyote families across dozens of territories in San Francisco.
Blurs of poppies, irises, and lupine bloom through ocean mist. Shortly after the vernal equinox, planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn align in the sky.