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Stories about nature's consciousness/intelligence?

 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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I'd love to hear stories from people's gardens of nature's intelligence.  Maybe a time when something weird and unexpected happens that had you feel that you were not alone, or maybe just something that filled your soul with beauty.  Stories inspire me and help me keep focused. Thanks!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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I'll start.  My first garden I planted four tomatoes and some hyacinths, that ws about all I had.  I was using the Perelandra Garden Workbook, trying to cocreate with nature's intelligence, and had asked about the garden shape and placement of seeds and mulched up with some leaves and the help of my friend and mentor Jill.

There were four beefsteak tomatoes, and a few weeks in one of them keeled over and lay down dead.  It stayed that way for weeks, and I pretty much gave up on it and ignored it and kept tending the other three.

Then one day a storm came, a microburst or "straight-line wind event," like a tornado but in a straight line.  I had never heard of these before, and I certainly never thought there'd be one in Yonkers.  But it ripped our two huge, century-old trees apart, sent limbs through the windows of the porch and skylights, and dumped a pile of brush about 6 feet high—right on top of my garden.

I cleared off as much brush as I could.  We didn't have power, so the trains weren't running, and I had time to just be and observe.

The four tomato plants were now all equally flattened.  The little girl who lived in the house with us stood by the garden and pointed, and said, "The tomatoes are growing, the tomatoes are growing!"  I cried seeing that.

But weirdly, a few days later, the runty one that had keeled over first perked up. The other ones didn't.

Eventually, in Novemeber, that little runt plant made some fruits.  They were green, but big enough to hold in my hand and feel something solid.  It felt like being pregnant and giving birth to something.  All my life I had only created poems, things made from words, abstraction and air, but now I had something solid that I could hold, eat, put in my own body and have it become part of me.  It was a deeply moving experience.  It felt like such magic, that a solid piece of food could come from all this.  And the way that nature had somehow resurrected the one ugly duckling runt plant while the others were destroyed showed me things would not always go as I expected, and for me there are larger, invisible forces at work behind the garden and the weather.

Anyone else have stories to share?
 
gardener
Posts: 410
Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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Once we had a drought and one day a mushroom just popped up for the first time in a long while and sure enough it rained that night.
 
pollinator
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The book Totem Salmon has the intelligence of nature as a central theme. It beautifully portrays how each stream’s salmon population has a collection of problem solving abilities reflecting the challenges and opportunities of that given stream. One example I saw in person was on the Elwha in the Olympic Mountains, which produced the largest salmon ever recorded (137lbs!). If you go to Goblins Gate, which stands between the spawning fish and many miles of ideal  spawning grounds, you see why the fish had to get so big to run up an unimaginably powerful torrent that a pretty large river that gets channeled through into a shoot just a few yards wide. This way of looking at evolution and intelligence that each species reflects about the environment it evolved in has framed my perspective ever since reading that brilliant book.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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That's awesome! That made me smile!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Thanks Ben, that's amazing! tell us more.

I'll share another, doing a process with nature the other day, you could call it an energy process, to prepare the way for project.  In ten minutes I had so many images come to mind, and such clarity about childhood conditionings that don't serve.  The project is to create more community around some of my goals and perspectives, and I got a sense of how much community I already have with the plants in the yard here.  The reminder that it's my thoughts that have been getting in the way of really sensing the love and warmth of nature.  It's been this ongoing miasm of "I should be doing this" or "I don't know what to do about that" or "I should be getting more yield" or "what will people think of my level of capability?"  It was just so clear what's there without that thought-miasm, the green green of plants' leaves, the joy, the sense of community and connectedness.  Meditation alone is helpful, but doing it with the nature intelligences is just an order of magnitude better.  I was flying high, an 8 or 9 out of 10.

Books have also been transporting in this way, even if it's not my own experience of nature intelligences it's an experience of someone else's experience, and those live vividly in my memory.  

More stories please!

 
Posts: 3
Location: Vermont
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wow & whoa, this thread
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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Thanks Joel.

Someone just posted a photo of a Blue Heron on Nextdoor.com, and it reminded me of a story.

One time I was out for a walk and talking with a nature team for helping me move to a new place, to adjust to this new living situation.  There was a river by there, and I would walk down the side of it.  Sometimes I'd see blue herons there, but today although I looked everywhere for it, I couldn't see it and thought it must not be there anymore.

I stopped and stood by the water's edge for a while, and then at some point the nature team nudged me to look at the water over to the right.  There i saw the refection of the heron clearly, because of the angle the heron's reflection was exposed against blue sky, although the heron itself was almost invisible because of a background of gray brush behind it.  And I got that the nature was telling me to trust my inner senses and not just rely on the outer ones.  

Another time my girlfriend got the message from E. B. White "This earth is so full of beauty for humans--especially where you're not looking."  Indeed.
 
Ben Zumeta
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Another lesson from Olympic National Park: In late summer 2018 I went backpacking up one of my favorite rivers on the west side of the mountains, through epic old growth coastal rainforest (it’s where I go to get away from crowds, so you’ll have to discover it for yourself;). It was smokier than I’d ever seen western Washington (where I grew up), and especially so for the Olympic peninsula where I was a backcountry ranger for several years. Abnormally high temps made the fires inland more extreme, thus creating a blanket of smog. This held the in the respiration of the rainforest, making it more humid than I’d ever felt there in the summer, when it’s normally idyllically dry and comfortable when “warm” (80f +is rare).  The rainforest had its own preventative fire defense! This could only work with absolutely massive and very extensive in tact old growth, which on the northwest coast was once the most fire resistant ecosystem on earth. I think on of the hurdles in humanity’s attempt to overcome Fermi’s paradox and evolve into the future will be comprehending on a societal and civilization scale that the only way to reduce wildfire devastation in pyrophyllic places like the American west is to have both more forests and more frequent fire.
 
Posts: 85
Location: Franklinton, NC
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My friend Ray told me, as he was burning plastic pallets on his bonfire one night, that the air comes down at night, that's the way he could get away with it. He had been in the Navy, and had been to Jamaica on shore leave. Him and a buddy knew where the pot was growing, and wanted to get up there and get some. Locals warned them not to go at night, because the air comes down. Night comes, gasses drop. Ray told me about people so high that they stared at the sun until they went blind. Pot protects itself. All life protects itself.
On another tack, I've been told on good authority that walking barefoot on land will cause beneficial to you plants to sprout over time. Symbiosis.
Last tack: Heard that the outer banks, when they were first discovered by western man, were old forests intertwined with wild grape vines. Western man cleared the wild vines. Next storm that came, trees came down. Man is arrogant when he enters into the forest. He should enter as a student, in my humble opinion.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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"I talk to trees." Sepp Holzer. He tells a lot of stories about communicating with nature in Desert or Paradise.  How he goes to a tree when he's stuck or angry and talks it out, and then solutions come. Or he dreams solutions to problems. He's true purple and true brown, that one!
 
pioneer
Posts: 442
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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What about the Gaia hypotheses? There was a whaling ship, the Essex, that was sunk by a whale, (an extremely uncommon occurrence, and this specific whale was not known previously or afterwards to attack ships.) less than a month after burning the ecosystem of one of the galapagos islands to ash. This makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the Gaia hypotheses. One question is: by what mechanism does Gaia (not a god or anything, just an emergent intelligence) collect and process information? I think the answer is the water cycle. The rivers flowing into the sea are nerves, that carry information. There doesn't even have to be particulate in the water for the information to be retained. It is proven science that water receives and holds an enormous amount of information about it's environment through it's structure. There is no reason to think that the ocean doesn't function like a giant brain. Weather is effected by the ocean. Trees collaborate with the ocean to spread rain. Winds are likely the information dissemination system of Gaia.
 
gardener
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Long ago, I lived on Lake Superior and had spent a beautiful summer day kayaking around the "neighbourhood". I stopped at an island to let my dog stretch her legs and for me to pee, and when I was preparing to leave a storm blew in with rain and surf battering me. My favourite kayaking hat left my head and ventured out to sea. It took me hours to get back home due to the wind and waves. The next day, while I was still mourning the loss of my hat, I was down at the beach and noticed something half buried in the newly-shifted beach sand. I dug it out and rinsed it off to find a perfect replacement hat. The embroidered logo on it said "Island Supply". I thought that was fortuitous.

Another story: Years later, I was on my way to visit a piece of property that I owned a few hours away with the intention of collecting a few soil samples for mason jar testing. I had my shovel in the car but halfway there I realized I'd forgotten my work gloves. It wasn't a big deal but I still regretted it and wished I had remembered them. Less than a minute later, I rounded a curve and spotted something in the middle of the highway. There was no traffic so I slowed down and was able to coast slowly by and open my door to retrieve a pair of gloves nearly identical to the ones I'd left at home.
 
pollinator
Posts: 123
Location: Chilean Patagonia
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I've noticed several times that if someone gives me a plant and then later my relationship with that person fades for whatever reason, the plant will die--no matter how much care I try to give it. If the plant is given with bad motives, no matter how healthy it is when given it will always die. That is my experience, at least. I wonder if this happens to anyone else?

I have definitely noticed that the plants/herbs/weeds I need will show up as I need them, whether they grow near my dwelling or catch my eye as I walk down a sidewalk.

Here in Chile, there is a native tree called Canelo (drimys winteri) that is sacred to the indigenous Mapuche people. They stress the need to ask the Canelo permission before taking its' medicine. I always do this, and many times Canelo has given me wonderfully effective medicine. However, one time a Canelo was blown down in a storm so I harvested some leaves but was unable to ask permission as the tree was already uprooted and thus dead. The medicine I made from the leaves I harvested without permission actually made us sick and created opposite effects of its' usual capabilities (worsening diarrhea instead of curing it, for example).

When my father in law died, it was the middle of winter here and after the casket was loaded into the hearse to be taken to the cemetery, it began to rain so we all waited a few minutes under shelter to let the storm pass. As we all stood together, it began to thunder. We hear thunder here about twice a year, one rumble and it's done. But on this occasion it thundered more than 40 times, with no visible lightning accompanying, and didn't subside until the casket was buried. It was an entirely unique event that was much commented on in our small community. A couple of weeks later I returned to the cemetery with my young daughter to plant flowers on the grave. It was only slightly drizzly, but we also heard thunder on this occasion, again without lightning to be seen anywhere. The strangest thing was that nobody else in the area that we spoke to heard the thunder. We were both very sure of what we heard! An interesting note is that my FIL was well-aware that my husband loves thunder, as they would often comment on their nostalgic memories of thunderstorms back in Texas.
 
pollinator
Posts: 231
Location: Australia
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Hey,

I often feel like nature is filled with patterns and habits, Each day I stop for a moment and am blown away, By a new aspect of nature.
This afternoon I took a walk along the beach, I saw the Pigface plants, used to prevent coastal erosion creating a space for manures to grow between them.

But the story I want to mention is this, I was clearing lines bushland near a soon to be reclaimed mine, to be turned into houses, I had many experience around this one little spot, A mate was eating a yogurt by these massive ant mounts, these ant mounts had little gravel roads on them, made by ants,
So I was telling him and the two other blokes, about how I studied ants at school for a project, and I learnt about how they use smell, etc, and then I told them, I can make them attack by rubbing a rock on the ground. they did not believe me and told me to do it.
So I did, and they did...
In a kind of movie esk, fashion black carpets of ants soon appeared. 3 different colonies. We jumped on top of the the Truck, back tray bit, (tailgate?) and still eating watched the ground turn black, We said to each other we should probably film this, Non of us wanted to stop eating or do it.
After the ground was cleared, and the winners carried away the defeated losers as trophies, my mates yogurt was stripped clean, all of this in a few minutes.

The same week, an incident with a bounding bull kangaroo but it wasn't that unique.

and also on the same week,
I am clearing some lantana, and I created this beam of light, and it struck this one flower and then the light reflected off the flower and when it did the light changed the tiniest of bits in colour. You had to be there in the moment, No photo could do it justice,
 
steward
Posts: 13147
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I heard a talk by Linda Black Elk about various plants her people foraged.  One that stuck with me was the sand cherry.  I forget their name for it but it was something like Sneak Berry.  The story is that you have to sneak up on the bushes from down wind to get tasty cherries.  If you approach them from upwind, they'll smell you and change the taste of the cherries.  

She met a chemist who was interested in testing the theory.  So her students collected cherries from up and downwind.  They found that after 5 minutes of smelling the people, the cherries would indeed contain different chemical compounds that affected their taste.

At the PDC this summer, Alan Booker was talking about how some scientists found a tree root tip deep in a cave.  I'll get the numbers wrong here but I'm pretty sure I'm in the ballpark (not exaggerating).  They were something like 350' underground and they were able to figure out which tree on the surface the roots came from.  Then they got a radioactive substance and a sensor that could detect when that substance reached the trunk at ground level.  They injected the substance in the root tip and guess how long it took for that physical substance to travel up the root to the tree?  Less than 1 second.  

Now when you walk around on the forest, what are the odds that every tree and plant in the area could feel your foot steps and know where you are as you walk by....
 
pollinator
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Location: SE Indiana
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Not sure if this actually applies to the topic, it just reminded me of it. I collect Indian relics, have for decades. I only collect surface finds, some from plowed fields but mostly along the edges of the Ohio River. Larger, unbroken ones are far more likely to be found in the edges of the water in areas with a gentle sloping sandy beach.

One very early morning I arrived at the edge of the water during an event that isn't all that uncommon to happen but is uncommon to see, cause you have to be in the right place at the right time.  Dense fog hanging over the water and up to the top of the closest bank. I could stand up straight and barely see my hand in front of my face but stooping down I could see under it, all the way across the river.

I just happened to notice a large white tail buck standing in the water probably not ten feet away and apparently completely unconcerned with my arrival. It might have been the biggest such critter I've ever seen, the tips of antlers were obscured in the fog layer. He slowly walked toward me a step or two before turning and slowly exiting the water and off into some nearby willow trees.

I found just about the finest relic in my collection that day and I found it without taking a single step. When the deer was out of site, I looked down and there it was. I hunted long time more, well after the fog was gone and the sun got hot but that was the only sign of Indian relics I saw that day.
 
Anderson gave himself the promotion. So I gave myself this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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