I got a bad feeling about this.
I was climbing down the rocky slopes towards the Catfish Creek when I caught sight of this brown pod…
…attached to a branch of that scrub chestnut oak.
It just plucked off, right into my hand, a snap of the fingers.
It had almost no weight to it. I carried it in a loose fist towards the beach…
…and laid it out on the big rock for a little alien autopsy.
I’m not at all qualified to do this.
My first instinct? This must be some sort of fungus or mold, not the most intelligent of life-forms but one that fills a very important niche here in the forest biome.
Fungus is actually how the trees communicate with each other.
Alerted to pests or diseases, even bad weather or fire, the trees will pump out chemicals into the ground, signals to other trees.
The fungus is able to pick up these messages and send them through their wires to the next tree…
…an underground and undercover communication grid that connects root to root, the fungus playing the role of the long-distance operator.
It’s happening right below my boots and yet I can’t see it, can’t hear it, can’t feel it no matter how hard I try.
I have to admit I was a little jealous.
So the trees can talk to each other? They just won’t talk to me.
Is it too much to ask for a simple hello? After all we’ve been through together?
The answer, for the time being, is no.
But maybe inside this pod…
…I can catch some sort of signal, some sort of contact. Maybe there is some message, once intercepted, that can crack the code.
The Rosetta Stone of tree-talk. It could be right there under my knife, a discovery that would secure Jon Spruce’s place in the pantheon of champion tree-hunters.
First man to talk tree.
But, like I said, I got a bad feeling about this.
I hate it when I’m right.