Butternut and “The Council of Pecans”

My plant guide this year is a beautiful pecan tree. I call her Butternut, and experience that she likes that name, allowing me to call her Butternut. This year, she is heavily fruiting, filled with pecans that have begun to blanket the grass of my yard. As I was breathing with her last week, I experienced the most heavenly scent, and became aware that this is the scent of her pecans. How incredible. I’m still marvelling over the intoxicating, divine scent.

Synchronously, I began to read “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer just after I had this experience with Butternut last week. As I came upon the second chapter of the book, my eyes nearly popped out of my head as I read “The Council of Pecans”. Robin shares how “nut trees don’t make a crop every year, but rather produce at unpredictable intervals. Some years a feast, most years a famine, a boom and bust cycle known as mast fruiting.” The nuts aren’t meant to be eaten right away, encased in a hard shell and then a green husk, food for winter. Also fascinating to me is that the trees act as a collective, all fruiting at the same time, within a grove, across groves, across states, across the country. They communicate with one another about fruiting (and much much more), likely above ground (through pheromones) and below ground (through fungal networks). There is so much mystery and wisdom in the processes of these trees and of nature overall. Robin shares of the wisdom of the pecans as “The pecan trees and their kin show a capacity for concerted action, for unity of purpose that transcends the individual trees. They ensure somehow that all stand together and thus survive. How they do so is still elusive.” The health of the whole is integral to the health of the individual being. For me this resonates with the teachings of the hologram, that each part contains the entire universe and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We are each within the universe and the universe is within each of us.

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