The Secret Language of Storytelling

Yesterday I was talking to Hilary Leighton, Director of Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University, and we got chatting about our first experiences in nature and how these experiences are so full of meaning for our lives. She asked me, off the top of my head, what mine was. I immediately thought of myself perched high in a tree. Climbing trees. That was my childhood obsession. As she pulled apart the image, and began to bring meaning to it, I was truly amazed to hear how someone who doesn’t really know me could gather so much about my essential nature.

For instance, being free, perched high, having choice in being able to climb up and away, relates to my risk taking nature as an entrepreneur and performer. It might have also had something to do with being a tiny girl in a family of 10 men and having some distance from the chaos below. Hilary gave me a lot more insights that made me think about nature and myself differently.

I also heard this week that there are studies going on showing how trees communicate to each other. This is on the heels of my reading how Elephants are communicating at a frequency that we cannot hear and that they have a complex language that scientists are only beginning to understand now. Lucy E. King is among a group of scientists who have been studying how African elephants communicate their fears about African bees.

The interconnectedness of it all is astounding to me. Everyone, and everything, is telling a story. How arrogant of us humans to think our stories only matter because they register above 30 Hertz.

I wonder what the trees were thinking as I fell through them, too small to reach their tallest boughs, plummeting down to the hard roots below, where I lay breathless? Maybe that’s why eco-stories are so powerful for us, they connect in ways we might not even realize, imprinting in our earliest memories the secret language of nature, its elemental design there in our bodies all along.

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