I wrote this book because I live in the Pacific Northwest of North America, where trees resonate within our collective consciousness. Some of us who live here speak of our trees as friends or healers. Some of us speak about incredible and spontaneous spiritual experiences we have had while leaning on a tree. Some of us have dedicated ourselves to protecting parks, watersheds and forests, such as the Cumberland Community Forest.
I wrote this book to explore our personal relationships with Nature embodied by trees. I was curious about what some refer to as the sentience of Nature, as though Nature can speak. For 10 years I traveled throughout the region to discover common and uncommon women and men who related to or with trees—including loggers, treesitters, big tree hunters, scientists, and ordinary citizens. I asked them about the nature of their relationships with trees and what resulted. I found trees that became catalysts for personal and community change, so I called the trees sacred. I found people who seemed to be ordained by trees, so I called the people sacred too. And throughout my travels throughout BC, Washington, Oregon and Northern California, I hoped that one day I would experience, deep within my mind and heart, the sentience of Nature too.
I wrote this book because I grew up among the concrete and highways of two-season Southern California. When my parents divorced, my mother and I relocated from apartment to apartment. I felt like a sapling transplanted over and over again, whose tender roots repeatedly broke. After immigrating to Canada, I grew fond of the native maples gracing the sidewalks of Montreal. They spoke of the seasons—all four of them. But the value of those trees were, to my awareness at the time, mostly ornamental. When I moved to British Columbia in 1994, I met trees. The grandeur of the evergreens commanded my awe. The more I hiked among the mountains of Vancouver Island, the more I noticed the trees dancing and singing, just like Emily Carr had painted them.
I wrote this book because, being rootless, I admired the rooted. I wrote this book because, as a writer, editor and journalist for 20 years, I longed to discover my voice by giving voice to those we have devalued and exploited. Having now become a counsellor and hypnotherapist, I have learned how to guide others to discover the sentience of Nature too.