White Lake Township in Michigan is right next to my own township. I often substitute at their library and there is the huge Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area and the Indian Springs metropark as two major places where I take my malamutt (malamute/husky) for some of our roughly every other day hikes.
Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash
Instead to something a bit closer to these two photos, except both are more orderly.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Those photos may eventually look like the area with a semblance of order, but right now trees are uprooted, laying all over.
Right now it just hurts to see the randomness of damage that was done with a heavy blow. It's not like the horrible fires decimating the western U.S. in the sense that it seems so very random. Scientists have been discussing the consciousness and possible communication of trees in recent years. A good example is the March 2018 Smithsonian article "Do Trees Talk to Each Other?" I would hate to hear them shouting and crying out right now. It all seems rather like J.R.R. Tolkien's the Ents. (If you don't recognize who they are, I strongly recommend learning. Trees may never seem the same to you.)
From ancient times trees have been with us, so it's no wonder they even are in fables. I found four in An Argosy of Fable selected and edited by Frederic Taber Cooper. The book starts with Classical Fables and the ones I've selected are in that section by Aesop and Phaedrus. Aesop opens and closes this group of four.
Argosy has other less prolific classical fabulists, then continues with "Oriental Fables" (Hindoo [sic], Persian, Chinese, Armenian and Turkish), then goes on to "Modern Fables" (English, French, Spanish, Russian, German, Polish) and finally a section called "Kraal and Wigwam Fables" (African and American Indian). Some of those have been given here in earlier blogs. Obviously Cooper not only selected but edited a work that attempts to cover the teachings of a great many cultures. It's interesting that the Wikipedia article says so little about him personally (although his Latin and Sanskrit professorship gives a hint) and somehow doesn't even list the Argosy.
If the trees have any wisdom or thoughts I suspect these four fables give a hint of their thoughts at this time. Anthropomorphic? Perhaps, but it hurts to see their present condition.
I believe the Jewish fable of the old man planting trees he'll never see grow is appropriate here. His answer is that he's planting them for the next generation. I've long talked about Arbor Day and
the Arbor Day
Foundation. I don't know if baby trees can save the western part of our country, but I certainly hope, here in the middle and beyond, trees continue to provide shade, be useful, and beautiful while adding their necessary oxygen to our planet.
- There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection. I have long recommended it and continue to do so. He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
- You may have noticed I'm no
longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his
offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking
specific types of stories. There's another site, FairyTalez
claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales,
folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for
phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.
Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
- Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links. Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job. In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it. Possibly searches maintained it. Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine. It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!