Sometimes, when I am still inside and touch the trunk of a tree, I feel its living memories: the sharp teeth of leaf-eating caterpillars, the smell of fresh, life-giving rain, sparrow songs, and summer cicada chants, the chill of the first freeze, tiny ant feet brushing soft spring leaves. I feel the memories of long, painful droughts, along with glorious times of plenty. I feel the lungs of our earth, breathing in and breathing out.
The memories of trees are written in every branch, leaf, and root, and are visibly recorded in the rings that wrap around its heartwood. The memory-rings reveal tree growth patterns, age, rainfall, temperatures, fires, snowfall, volcanic eruptions, and the overall health of the ecosystem from which it came.