The first step in learning to talk to plants is cultivating politeness, realizing that the pine trees that have been here for 700 million years must have been doing something before we came on the scene a mere million years ago.

besides pining away for our existence

The first step is to respect our elders.

Pine trees know a great deal more than we ever will about being pine trees and about what pine trees do. So all that nonsense you learned in school has got to go, especially the botany. In ordering plants (around), Linnaeus’s voice has become so LOUD that every other sound is drowned out.

but I like saying Pinus

You are learning a different kind of language now, and you must be suspicious of the word. Words are the domain of the linear mind; only the heart can hear the language of plants. And words kill the perceptions of the heart.

This unlearning is difficult to do. It takes years. You will trail the scattered pages of dead learning behind you for decades as you go. The first step is the simple/hard one, depending on your orientation. Simple if you have a predisposition for it, hard if you have no idea what I am talking about. (Neocortex freaks will tell you this is all nonsense.)

The goal now is not to make plants manageable, but to make them visible. And only outlaws can see plants truly.

“Nature is,” as Henry David Thoreau understood so well, “a prairie for outlaws.” Those who go into Nature become, of necessity, uncivilized. Thoreau was well read. He knew that the word “civilized” comes from the Latin civilis, meaning “under law, orderly.”

ah, his little joke

Civilis itself comes from an older Latin word, civis, meaning “someone who lives in a city, a citizen.” Those who go into wilderness, into Nature that has not been tamed, are no longer under (arbitrary) human law, but under the all-encompassing, inevitable law of Nature. They go out from under human law. They are no longer citizens, they are not orderly, they are not civilized—they are outlaws. When you go into wilderness, something happens, something that civilization does not like. (That’s why they cut it down, you know.)

⚘ Stephen Harrod Buhner, The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature