Gratefully, I have returned. The garden and arboretum seem to be in a sulk. My green world missed me. I know it, but I do not have the words to explain such a feeling of listening to the land. There is a consciousness that is exchanged between plant and man; it is a kind of non-verbal communication. Some day we will be able to define this.
I joined Adventure Canada in a circumnavigation of Ireland in June. Christian came too. The idea was to talk about climate change and show Call of the Forest. I will say that the coast of Ireland is splendid when seen from the sea. The wildlife like puffins and kittiwakes, cliff-nesting birds that spend the winters on the open sea, are amazing. The ocean seemed to be filled with whales and porpoises, especially north of the cliffs of Moher – in reality, it was my youth revisited.
Just prior to leaving for Ireland, I gave the commencement speech to the graduating students at Carleton University. Again, I spoke of answers to climate change regarding the social psychology they must adopt for a mass movement, just like an anthill or beehive. One bee does not amount to much by way of honey, but pounds of bees do the trick when working together.
I was also honoured by the Board of Governor and Senate of Carleton University in Ottawa. They unanimously voted to recognize my “outstanding efforts towards preserving the earth’s climate and forests through the use of ethical scientific and traditional concepts,” conferring on me the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. At the same time I also received another PhD for my work on cardiac ischemia and artificial blood which is capable of oxygen delivery in the human circulation, a life-saving technique with endless possibilities all over the world.
In the meantime there was glory in the arboretum: my Kingnuts gave birth. On my first walk about, I looked up for some reason. There above my head, the Kingnut tree, carya laciniosa, was dangling branches carrying pairs of ovoid nuts. Yes, the tree’s bark had shagged into long plates last year. This is usually a botanical indicator somewhat like a birth announcement. At the moment, I am watching and waiting. I am so delighted to be successful with this plant trial that has needed the patience of 15 years and then some. This is a medicine tree. It has been used by the indigenous peoples for millennia. I have plans to share the nuts.
And, I am waiting for Penguin-Random House to release my book, To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest. The publication date is the 24th of September, and it can be pre-ordered here. So please, please support me in spreading the message to stop climate change. Now, I must go out to the woodpile to stack. Winter will come, like a blast from the past!