Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History


I’ve been reading Lives of the Trees:An Uncommon History by Diana Wells and this book has given me a totally different outlook on something I see everyday – trees!

I think we all know that trees are very important to the planet and to our own livelihoods, but we are so often focused on how trees contribute to our lives instead of looking at the lives of trees themselves and, subsequently, their lives with us. It’s a fascinating mutual relationship.

What I love about Live of the Trees is that it explores this relationship. Before reading this book, I didn’t know that the sap of the alder tree is blood red, prompting many to believe that the tree was associated with death and pain (thus prompting many to fear this tree). Or that the Franklinia alatamaha tree (which was discovered along the Alatamaha River by John and William Bartram in 1765) was pushed to extinction in the wild by the 19th century – yet was able to live on from the specimens cultivated by the Bartrams.

Trees are bound to our life and we are bound to theirs and this book explores this connection through fascinating facts and stories on every page. For me especially, I literally found something fascinating in one of the pages of this book:


An alder leaf, perfectly pressed and resting on the page of its namesake. You can imagine at how amazed I was to discover this when I turned to this page and out fell this leaf. It was as though, for a moment, this book had come to life and was about to turn into an alder tree itself!




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