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Outdoors: Into the Woods


Halloween is the perfect time to listen to a recording of the musical "Into the Woods."

"You go into the woods / where nothing is clear / where witches, ghosts and wolves appear / into the woods and through the fear / you have to take the journey."

When his fairytale characters go "into the woods," Stephen Sondheim is using the lyrics as a metaphor for a dangerous quest required to make wishes come true.

Although I love the music and life lessons of this show, Little Red Riding Hood was so very wrong when she sang, "The woods are just trees."

You see, no tree is alone.

In his remarkable book "The Overstory," Richard Powers wrote, "Something marvelous is happening underground. Mats of mycorrhizal cabling link trees into gigantic, smart communities spread across hundreds of acres. Together, they form vast trading networks of goods, services and information. There are no individuals in a forest, no separate events. A third or more of the food a big tree makes may go to feed other organisms. Even trees of different kinds form partnerships. Trees store extra sugar in their fungi's synapses to dole out to the sick and shaded and wounded. A forest takes care of itself."

If we could go into the woods and learn from the trees, we might have a "happily ever after."