December 12, 2021

Can You See…the Sentience of a Tree?

Grace Brownlie

PoemTrees Whisper a Prayer, 2021

‘Trees Whisper A Prayer’ is not only an expression of my own personal reverence for, and connection to trees and forests, but also a tribute to – and intertwining of – their biological, ecological, and mystical powers. I am fascinated by the interconnections / intersections between biology, neuroscience, anthropology and spirituality…trees (like humans) are not solitary beings – they each have their own ecosystem with their own individual symbiotic relationships to the flora and fauna around them, and also have complex underground fungal networks that they utilise to communicate with and support each other. Their ability to constantly evolve and adapt to their environment I see as similar to the brain’s neoplastic abilities of synaptic rewiring. This parallel highlights their ‘aliveness’; their sentience. Nature requires no theological structure; no hierarchy – as such trees are at once gods of and subjects to Mother Nature. Our lack of reverence for trees is literally destroying our planet – we need to reconnect with and respect these life-giving beings.