To Speak for the Trees: My Life's Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
As described by the publisher:
Diana Beresford-Kroeger—a world-recognized botanist and medical biochemist—has revolutionized our understanding of the natural world with her startling insights into the hidden life of trees. In this riveting memoir, she uncovers the roots of her discoveries in her extraordinary childhood in Ireland. Soon after, her brilliant mind bloomed into an illustrious scientific career that melds the intricacies of the natural world with the truths of traditional Celtic wisdom. To Speak for the Trees uniquely blends the story of Beresford-Kroeger’s incredible life and her outstanding achievement as a scientist. It elegantly shows us how forests can not only heal us as people but can also help save the planet.
Beresford-Kroeger’s story, while about trees and the role they play in our world, is also about profound transformation and adaptation.
While her education and academic research led her to understand the biochemistry of humankind is connected to the biochemistry of trees and plants, what she really discovers along the way is her own saoirse—a Gaelic word for freedom. She finds the freedom to think and believe what she likes, the freedom of her spirit and imagination, the freedom to know a person should love others and nature as much as they love themselves. A freedom equally rooted in both the ancient Celtic traditions and the modern world.
Beresford-Kroeger was the child of an English aristocrat and an Irish beauty. At the age of eight, she was orphaned and sent to spend the summers with her mother’s folk in the Irish countryside. Taking her under their wing, the elder locals were determined to provide her with a wardship. Not understanding what that meant and weary of the attention, Beresford-Kroeger reluctantly participates as the elder locals conspired to teach her the old Celtic ways. The locals, each and in turn, taught Beresford-Kroeger what they knew, thus giving her the greatest gift possible—the gift of knowledge—while ensuring the ancient ways of seeing the world would not be lost. Their only requirement was that she share this knowledge with the world.
To Speak for the Trees draws the reader into her world of trees and the roles they play in our world. Yet at the same time, there is the subtle undercurrent by which she gently, yet firmly, identified our world’s transgressions. To Speak For Trees amplifies Beresford-Kroeger’s voice with a passionate call to action—both for the trees and for humanity.
Without hesitation, she calls out:
There is connectivity of life, especially in nature.
Freedom and time are the two most valuable things a person can possess.
Positive action, no matter how small, builds toward bigger goals.
There is a deity in nature. When you walk in a forest—great or small—you enter it in one state and emerge from it calmer.
We need to fight to keep what we possessed as children: the ability to see the biggest questions sitting inside the smaller ones.
Beresford-Kroeger believes the trees are telling us how to save the forests and our planet. All we have to do is listen and remember. And to hear Beresford-Kroeger tell it, trees can teach us how to save ourselves at the very same time.
All we have to do is listen.