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Classical Music

Outdoors: Pine tree tales

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When Sir Arnold Bax wrote his symphonic poem, “Tales the Pine Trees Knew,” he was thinking of Norway and Scotland.

He explained, “This work is concerned solely with the abstract mood of these places, and the pine trees' tale must be taken purely as a generic one. Certainly I had no specific coniferous story to relate.”

But the pine trees at Interlochen do know a number of tales.

Certainly, by studying the annual rings of the venerable pines at Interlochen, one can the pinpoint the time in the 1870s when the lumber industry began, the settlement and demise of the village of Wylie, the era when the Pennington family built a hotel and established summer camps.

The pines know the ecological history of the Center for the Arts.

They probably were stressed when the Mall was paved and each time a building was added.

They no doubt flourished in the increased sunlight back in 1993 when gypsy moths defoliated all of the deciduous trees.

Many researchers now believe that trees communicate through a network of underground fungi which connects their roots.

When some trees are stressed from insect attack, drought, or lack of nutrients, other trees actually share their resources through the fungal network.

I’m guessing the pines trees knew of the plight of the deciduous trees and helped them in their time of need.

Trees seem to have a sort of a primitive memory.

We can’t imagine what our Stately Pines know and remember, but I believe they knew and still remember how behave as a community.