Shamanic practitioner (and emergency medic) Winter Ross met a sister in a wounded ponderosa pine.
The ponderosa pine
called to me as I tramped down the hill from my evening hike. The call came in the form of butterscotch incense. The tendrils of perfume were fingers beckoning
me down the trail. I followed my nose until I found the source nearly 50 feet away. How had I walked past this magnificent being without noticing it on my way up?
I learned the joy of tree-hugging, specifically ponderosa hugging, from a Mormon Sierra Club activist (an unusual combination—surely he was a closet neopagan) during a wilderness training on Utah’s roadless area 20 years ago. To get the full, sweet experience of the tree’s scent, he had me burrow my nose into cracks between the burnt orange plaques of bark. I was hooked. I rarely pass up the opportunity to kiss
a ponderosa pine even though I find myself inhaling spider webs and bark beetles along with the treat.
Trees have an intelligence. A tree may have as many as 3,000 chemicals in its phytohormonal vocabulary. Like us, they produce neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate. They have memories of a sort and seem to learn. They are conscious o …