A long time ago, we came down from the trees to the ground and left the forests. We pat ourselves on the back, encouraging one another that we’re smarter than our fellow travellers on this blue ball of ours. But are we really?
Forests are so much more than just timber and firewood. They are the lungs of our planet, protecting the soil from erosion and retaining water, thus ensuring that it does not drain away too quickly. The trees regulate the climate, both within the forest and outside of its boundaries. They are a home for numerous animal species. And a multi-storey home, at that.
An organisation created through millions and millions of years of checking what goes together with what, and who goes together with whom.
It's a place that I like to go to. For me, a forest is a place of immeasurable richness, a place that feels like home, and a source of energy, peace and hope for the future.
In a forest, all of our senses are brought to life. Sometimes, it is easier to hear and even smell in a forest than it is to see. In a forest, you are never alone. At least one pair of eyes is carefully watching your every step. And if you don’t know what is happening, even the leaves rustling as a blackbird hops over them will turn into stories featuring a monstrous bear in your imagination. But bears, these starry-eyed souls, never actually hunt people; they only chase them.
We can learn a lot from a forest. How to live in symbiosis with one another, even though your neighbour is a sloppy, slimy mushroom, while you are a magnificent oak tree (or vice versa). How to communicate by not saying a thing. How to patiently await your turn and how to not give up. Like a fir tree in the middle of a forest. It can wait for decades, small and insignificant; once it is given an opportunity, however, it grabs it with all its branches, shooting off into the sky. How to dance together in the wind, even when it’s blowing a gale, and live to tell the tale.
How to respect one another and, most of all, how to respect life.
We want everything to be as young as possible. But our forests need to age. Old forests, full of tree holes and secrets, are becoming increasingly rare. They need a natural species composition. Whatever grows in and of itself is what is most appropriate for a certain season. But what do we do? We happily plant spruce trees; bark beetles come, we declare that a natural disaster is upon us (even though the real natural disaster is actually us), and we keep on planting spruce trees.
A forest is an extremely complicated system, but if you look at it closely, you’ll see that every single detail is so well thought out that, in its essence, everything is actually really simple. Countless simple details, creating a powerful, stable whole surviving through numerous beautiful and less beautiful periods of our planet.
Every single thing is yearning for a forest; human beings, however, aim to achieve a desert. Even though it's the forest, and not technology, that will save us from a global disaster.
We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. To listen more and talk less. Next time you find yourself in a forest, nature’s cathedral, just be spectators and listeners of this extraordinary play of nature, instead of trying to be loud and blind actors playing the leading role.
I am an older version of a totally autonomous humanoid manufactured in the previous century. I’m bored on cloudless days and days without sunshine. I love mountains of data and finding meaning in nonsense. I have no free time. I don’t have any hobbies either; all I do, I do “for real”. I’m interested in all that is biotic or abiotic. I try to be a multifunctional device, and I love it.