I read Lord of the Rings years ago, so it’s no secret to me that trees can talk, at least in a fantasy world. In real life, though? Well, there are folks who say they can. Then there are folks like Rita Larkin Kayser who thought that trees really could talk, until she discovered an important truth.
You see, talking trees and gardening romance are both a little magical. Maybe it’s the intoxicating aroma of the roses or perhaps we’ve inhaled too much fertilizer dust. But there’s something about spending time with nature that just feels like the best date ever. It feels like the flowers and trees and bees and grass are all communing with you and your special someone. Certainly, that’s been the case for Becky and I over the years.
It turns out, the mystery might be easily solved. In The Tree That Talked To Me, Rita reminisces about one very memorable day when she was seven. It was the first time she’d heard a tree (specifically, “the big oak tree near the neighbor’s”) talking to her. Not one to let that sort of miracle go unexplored, she soon found where the voice was coming from.
I admit, this one gave me quite a chuckle, as I could easily envision seven-year-old Rita looking quizzically at this large tree. I hope you find this story as enjoyable as I did. And I hope, if you find that you hear trees talking, you follow Rita’s lead and explore!
When it comes to gardening romance, the trees have something to say
This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that inject the joy of gardening into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!
The Tree That Talked To Me
By Rita Larkin Kayser
Since I’ve never been able to remember if the sun revolves around the Earth or not, I have no right to question the ideas shared in last issue’s excerpt from The Hidden Life of Trees: that trees communicate with each other and help each other out.
But it did remind me of the time a tree talked to me! (Well . . . )
I was about seven years old. Every summer day I would walk the quarter mile from our house to the mailbox and wait for Charlie, our mailman, to bring the mail. One day I got there early, so l had some time to play. It was a beautiful morning, and I busied myself picking Johnny jump-ups and listening to the birds sing.
Suddenly I heard more than birds. I heard a voice say, “Hi!”
I looked around but didn’t see anyone. Then I heard my name: “Hi, Rita!’ It sounded like it’d come from the big oak near the neighbor’s.
I walked over to the tree and searched its branches, but I didn’t see anyone. Was the tree talking to me? I had about decided that it must be the tree—when l heard a giggle above me. At the top of the tree sat the neighbor boy. He was eight and had a fierce crush on me.
I was embarrassed and awfully glad Charlie brought the mail just then so I could run home.
Maybe trees do communicate with each other in mysterious ways, but if those researchers think they hear something, they should check for clues in the treetops. They might just find a blushing schoolboy whispering sweet nothings to his girl. ❖
By Rita Larkin Kayser, published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #110. Illustrations by Hannah England.
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