A Day in the Life of a Tree

The sun rises, and as the birds start to sing their morning routine, small drops of dew inch their way off the leaves of silent trees in a forest. Insects and the remaining nightlife scurries away in their holes and hiding spots, avoiding the light and sleeping until it is time to come out once more when the sun has hid itself from the horizon. The light of the morning begins to pierce through leaves and the horizon, getting brighter and warmer by the minute. Everything is still slowly waking up, or slowly going to sleep; it’s a new day.

Today, a bee will flap it’s wings 23,328,000 times; the fastest snail will travel 1km; the universe will expand by about 1.3 million km; 8 million lightning strikes will hit the earth; and 2,937,600 rainforest trees will be cut down. This is the story of one of those tree.

“I don’t sleep or dream or understand what you mean with the word ‘tomorrow’, but if I could tell you something, I’d show you what it’s like for a day to be me. I am rooted in rich, moist soil, and my family lives around me. Every now and again, a gentle couple might roam around us and carve their initials on my bark, or a drunk man might put his hand on my trunk to stabilize himself as he relieves his full bladder by my roots. I just watch and live day-to-day.

Today’s light orb shines brightly, and I continue to do my processes, as I have for the past 17520 days.

We trees have these fungi mycorrhizal networks that help us talk to one another, and see how we’re all doing. If a neighbour is missing something, we might pitch in to give the resources they need. The fungi and I transfer water, carbon, nitrogen and many other nutrients and minerals that we both may need. It’s nice.

If you’ve ever walked in one of our homes, or ‘forests’ as you may call it, you might feel peaceful or even scared at the eery silence. Honestly, we’re just trees living our day-to-day. It’s been a bit more difficult lately with the chemicals and nutrients in my soil being different, but I don’t understand why it’s happening. I guess things are changing?

I like the different sayings you humans have that relate to us. Like being rooted. Or an apple never falls far from the tree. I don’t know what they mean, but I’ve heard them when passerby’s have walked by my sides. We should have sayings about you too:

  • Take all the nutrients, like a human would
  • If the climate’s not to your liking, change it for yourself!

My leaves have started to fall off later than they should and animals haven’t been hiding as soon as they should, as temperatures seem to be warmer than they should be. I don’t feel temperature, but I can see it. Hedgehogs are getting thinner, and dying at my roots because they don’t have enough fat reserves (or so they’ve told me) for the winter. Migrating birds are staying back longer because it’s warmer than normal here. My friends are dying from disease that we can’t help them with; our fungi can only send them so much. What’s happening? Why are things changing?

I don’t think, I just live. But recently, living has been harder to do. I don’t get to go to therapy or a doctor to deal with my issues. We’re alone in this battle, aren’t we? Everyday it gets harder to breathe, harder to get my nutrients, harder to live.

Today’s coming to an end slowly, as the bright light orb falls between the arms of my friends far in the horizon. They catch the orb every day, and set it down below the ground. The night brings many new animals, but the best part is the sky which is usually blue. It turns black and has these small fireflies stuck on them, staying put and slowly rotating as the night advances. But recently, the fireflies in the sky have started to be dimmer, and loud noises are coming from our sides.

Normally the night is dark, but now it’s turning grey, and I can easily see animals running around by my roots and up my bark. I thought the orb was set already? Why is there still light in the night?

There’s a lot of things that are happening that I don’t understand, but I don’t think about it much. I just live and continue my processes. Tomorrow is day 17521, and I’m excited to see the fireflies again, no matter how dim they’re getting.

Day 17521: I wake to something buzzing and biting by my bark, making my leaves shake. Birds fly away from my branches, leaving me bare and alone. I feel my insides creaking and painfully ripping from the soil I’ve called home, and finally crash into the ground. My branches, for the first time, touch the floor. My trunk is ripped, and I can see that my roots are still on the ground, unaware that there’s nothing left to pump the nutrients to. Nutrients and water ooze out of my cut trunk, and cold metal hooks strike my bark. The last I remember is being dragged on the ground, and for the first time, I can see the rest of my friends from below – the rest of the ‘forest’. Their leaves shine bright green, I see birds flying above the canopy, and for the first time, I see what the sky looked like directly above me. Wow, it really is beautiful. I wish I could’ve stayed here longer…”

The Hidden Life of Trees – An important read that can help you see how trees talk, protect, and support one another

Today’s conservation efforts, protected areas, and parks have been able to slowly stabilize the decline in tree cutting and land degradation.

However, being able to make the public more aware of what we’re doing to ecological systems and forests is important in driving future change. Many different organizations around the world are rallying up to protect, plant, and research trees.

To find more about the different organizations, their mission, and current goals as well as opportunities to volunteer and make an impactful change in this dreadful tree-cutting era, check out spiritoftrees.org/organizations, and other organizations that are promoting forest conservation.

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