There are five of us and the guy from the NGO. We are planting ten tree seedlings on the side of a mountain caught in a forest fire in the summer. Once I see that everyone else has had a turn planting a tree, I plant one. It is not arduous work; the little hoe provided cuts easily through the moist soil.

Before I know it, my seedling is in the ground. After patting down the soil, I place my palms on either side of it. In my mind, I say to the plant, “There. You grow.” As I nod my head in acknowledgement to the plant’s silent response, I become aware again that I am not alone; there are other people around me.

I stand up and call out to my companions, “Hey, did you talk to your plants?” They say no, in chorus, they did not. I play around a bit, and say they need to; it’s essential, etc. We laugh, but I am serious.

As I bend down again to cover the seedling tree with the protector tube, I realise with a sense of the unreal that I have always talked to plants this way. Unreal, because I slipped into this mode so easily, so quickly, and without being conscious of it, and in the company of others.

This talking with plants is hard to explain. Somewhere between the web and the weft of words— in the space where the feeling of life coursing through my veins almost forms a thought, yet does not, for it carries on coursing—is the realm of being at one with the life – the plant, between my own hands, themselves a conduit of energy. The language is basic, dreamlike, and in my case, the words that resonate in my head are not always confined to just one human language. I think it is the resonance, more than anything else that encourages the plants to grow. It has nothing to do with green thumbs or fingers. It has everything to do with silence.

Sometimes a single word escapes from my mouth, such as “Joyful”, the name I gave to the huge pumpkin that grew two years ago, a picture of which can be seen of it in its infancy, if you scroll down here.

Don’t worry about the other nine trees planted on the hillside. I chatted to them too.

©2018 Allison Wright

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