A few days ago, while browsing through Pinterest (on the lookout for a cloak pattern, seeing as I was told to fashion myself a cloak out of bloodred fabric, but that’s another story), I came across a series of “fun fact” pins involving wolves. The one that stood out said that since wolves have been reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park, they’ve started healing and changing the whole park.
Of course you have to follow those things up with a bit of research usually, as a lot of those facts are in fact fictional fact – that is, freely invented. Happily, this one appears to be true.
Here is a wonderful little video explaining the mechanisms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K_YQZheKr4&t=6s and here’s the statement from the Park itself: https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/wolf-reintroduction-changes-ecosystem .
If you’re too impatient or lacking to time to watch or read, the gist of it is that because of the wolves and their hunting habits, deer change their patterns of where they stay or take refuge, which leads to changes in vegetation and to trees in certain areas growing better, which leads to more stable river banks, which leads to… and so on.
Of course most woodlands and forests around here (in densely inhabited Germany) are too small and can’t support a lone wolf, never mind a pack of them. And the places that do have a growing wolf population, like Poland, are already back to hunting them, because wolves are smart and so have learned that small dogs and sheep make easier prey than deer or boar. I do realise that having wolves in close proximity to human habitation does pose problems, but all of that is not the topic at hand. Which is that most people don’t spare a thought to the fact that it’s a precarious and precious balance nature maintains (as long as allowed to do so), where every little cog has its vital function and is not easily replaced with a substitute. Like, it’s not the same whether human hunters or wolves keep down the numbers of deer or boar, and no one would have thought of all the implications the different ways of hunting have.
We humans have long since stopped being a cog in this operation. We’ve become the wench thrown into the system, the thing throwing natural balance totally out of whack. It’s hubris to think we know better than nature.
I see this in little things: we have a small natural green strip going through our community. This used to be a set of railwaytracks allowed to grow over, then a few years back it was decided to put a gravelled footpath over the tracks and that’s what happened. The side strips were left to their own devices… until someone came up with the brilliant idea to plow parts of it to sow bee-friendly flowers. Only… now, instead of a natural habitat featuring dozens of wildflowers, we have a duoculture of rapeseed and some other plant that may have been Phacelia, I’m not sure. It was beyond ugly and neither bees nor bumblebees took to the new flowers more than they did to the old variety. What I hated about this interference is how it changed the whole mood of this place. It felt off. Artificial. The colours were off, jarring. It felt like an orchestra playing off-key.
I have heard multiple times that plants don’t just arbitrarily grow where they grow, but, conditions being equally suitable, grow where their energy is needed. So, if a certain plant starts showing up in your garden or beneath your bedroom window, check whether it has medicinal properties you might benefit from. Interestingly, the first places I found St John’s Wort growing around here in copious amounts was along the motorway and especially in the sections that were under construction. Exactly the place where people “leave” their stress and agitation.
Don’t misunderstand this though: plant life does not revolve around what we humans need. They may follow us to grow where we need them. Or where animals need them, or other plants. Maybe they follow energy patterns, a lot of which may or may not have been created by us, they may follow the energy of birds or small mammals or the winds that carry their seeds. I think it is all of the above.
So what happens when we decide where which plant has to grow?
Luckily though, as every gardener knows, sometimes there’s no predicting what will grow in your garden. One species may thrive in your neighbour’s yard but not yours, or bulbs you plant may stay invisible for years only to crop up in a totally different place from where you put them into the earth.
But we humans think we can improve on nature, by forcing our designs on it, by bringing in foreign plants or animals, or eliminating those we deem dangerous (wolves) or irritating (mosquitoes). And just like most people nowadays prefer MP3 over full format for the way you you can easily move data around or store it, most don’t even notice how many frequencies are lobbed off in the name of (our) convenience and comfort. Wherever humans put their hands, the end result tends to not be balanced and whole anymore. We need every voice – even the ones we can’t hear ourselves.
But really, it’s not only that. It’s not only the voice that’s missing, the physical being that hunts or grows and has a measurable function. It is also the energetic presence. The little dots that form the big picture, the little strands that make up the tapestry of life.
In my opinion, there are two kinds of energy lines and power places. Some powerplaces have a higher or more concentrated energy due to geological circumstances, and some derive them from human interaction. One theory is that in places where humans meet regularly, Earth energy tends to accumulate or be raised. Another theory says that it’s the imprints of (human) emotions that create the new powerspots. Probably both are right.
How and whether we are creating new hotspots or lines at the moment. Where do we gather… and why? What are our modern day song lines, where do we add our voice, where do we pilgrimage?
Sadly, it seems the places with the most traffic are the ones with literally the most traffic: motorways, shopping malls, car parks. No wonder places to shop are sometimes called “temples of consumerism” (at least in German Konsumtempel is a word). Schools, big corporations.
I remember when I had to visit a big casualty hospital. We had to sit in the waiting room on the second floor for quite a long time, and the longer I sat there, the worse I felt. Headachey, faint, droopy. It took me some time to figure out that I was reacting to the emotions wafting all over the place, not least the pain from the burn unit on the floor below us. And we tend to favour those concentrations of energy. Nobody much stills dies peacefully at home: death has been relocated to hospitals and nursing homes. In each city, all but about 3% of newborns are born in exactly the same spot, the hospital. Elderly people don’t live spread out all over the homes but concentrated in nursing homes. What a weird pattern we are creating.
And how much have we impoverished it, by destroying or removing all the undercurrents and overcurrents other beings used to add.
So when I first saw that pin about the wolves, my second thought (after “I hope that’s true!”) was that it was the wolves’ presence that improved the ecosystem, the simple fact of them being there, of them having come home, that was healing the park, and not (just) what they’re doing there. I believe there is truth in that too.