For the next few months, I’m offering a short ebook of writings by Veronique Leclaire for free. Vero is the star of Song of the Tree Hollow. She’s the young woman who comes home to care for her cat until she discovers a mysterious phenomenon in the woods. In this excerpt, she shares her thoughts on being a plant whisperer, and in the ebook, she dives into her mother’s ancestry and love for her French grandparents.
The Spirit of the Forest
May 8th, 2012
I’ll tell you who I am but only if you promise not to tell. It’s a secret. If word got out, I’d be labeled a freak, certainly a witch. But I’m no witch. I just know plants, as in well. Too well. I can’t explain it in a short summary. It’s complicated. There are little green souls involved, but I’ll give it a try.
Let’s see, first, I am human and I was made in Seattle, not by my parents, who indeed did make me biologically, but by, and don’t laugh, the forest. I know that’s obvious, we’re all of the natural world, but hear me out. Seattle is a city that used to be a forest and even though hundreds of loggers cut down hundreds of trees and built buildings out of them, you can’t take the spirit of the forest out of the city. It exists in those houses, in those sturdy beams that create the framework, in the roof boards and fir floors and decorative trim. It even exists in the new young saplings that sprout in people’s backyards, in the bracken fern that grows in a forgotten corner. Seattle is saturated with the spirit of the forest. So, from time to time, it seems a human soul becomes touched by that spirit in a way other people aren’t.
Because of this, I am unlike other women. For instance, walking through the woods used to be a relaxing experience but now it’s daunting. Not because I was attacked or injured, but because sometimes I’m not up to the task. You see, the trees speak to me. They yearn for the sun as they grow taller and stretch their branches. They revel in drinking water and breathing out gases. They cry at their injuries and compete for root space. They buzz with their life’s work. Then, when they are ill or old, they procreate and fade away. The problem is I know all of this as it’s happening – not in a bookish way but in a literal way. I don’t just see and smell and touch trees, I feel them. They tell me things. When they’re upset, I know. When they’re content, I know. I know it to my core. And sometimes it’s a joy, sometimes, a burden.
I’ve learned in these last few months how to cope. I don’t touch the plants, or if I do, I let go soon. You see, if I touch a plant and I wait…
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