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May Heartbeat of the Forest by Kathleen Preece

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The Dennis Thompson Hug

Every time I meander through the woods I hear Dennis Thompson’s words: “Birch trees do not like to live alone.”

Really? I don’t think of Dennis as necessarily an emotional kind of guy, concerned about the feelings that birch trees have. I hope he doesn’t take offense, but in all sincerity and with deep respect for my professional forestry colleague, it is difficult to imagine Dennis, a county land manager in charge of 224,574 acres of forested land in north central Minnesota, leaning over and asking the 100,000 tree seedlings he plants annually, ‘where’ and ‘with whom’ they would like to be planted.

However, recent ‘reads’ and contemplations give me pause to consider that Dennis just may be a heartbeat away from a different way of thinking about the natural resources that share our worlds. Who is really to say that birch trees do- or do not ‘like’ to live alone?

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