And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.                                                                                            F. Nietzsche


People are sending emails to trees in the city of Melbourne, Australia. Apparently Melbourne has a vast urban forest, and each tree is numbered, identified by species and given an email address. The idea was to enlist city residents to report on problems with the trees, such as broken limbs or signs of disease. What has happened is that people have written thousands of emails to specific trees. Some of the emails ask personal or political questions, some discuss existential concerns, and most of them simply express love and gratitude to the trees, or ask what they need. You can read more about this here.

This makes me chuckle. We can’t help ourselves, most of us; we do want to communicate with the world around us. Even though we have been taught that non-humans do not matter much—we know better. Ancient human wisdom that everything is conscious and alive is woven into our cells. If we pay attention at all, we can’t help but feel curiosity, love and gratitude for so much life around us.

I must admit I speak aloud to trees, birds, bugs, flowers, my paintings, my car—most things–and always have. I feel happier when I do. And the world seems shinier then too: like doors and windows are wide open and fresh air can blow through.

(I think the world is always like that but sometimes my own self-absorption can obscure it.)

I’d like to see those Melbourne folks actually talk out loud directly with those trees. And anything else they are drawn to chat with. I’d love to see many more of us doing this, all over the country. Wouldn’t you like to feel free to do this? They can’t lock all of us up as crazy.

What would you say to a beloved tree in the park? To the St. Croix River? To the cardinal in your yard? To your favorite chair? To the showerhead in your bathroom?

Oh, a thought: I want to thank my garage door opener for its hard work all these years no matter the weather. And I haven’t checked in with the plant in my bedroom for awhile.

I’m curious to see how all this conversation would change things–our hearts, and everything around us. Might some fresh breezes blow through our world?

I refuse to be intimidated by reality anymore. What is reality? A collective hunch.

                                                                                                        Lily Tomlin