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  • Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Mirjana Čutura

  • Humans do not see trees.

  • They walk by us every day.

  • They sit and sleep, smoke and picnic

  • and secretly kiss in our shade.

  • They pluck our leaves and gorge on our fruits.

  • They break our branches

  • or carve their lover's name on our trunks with their blades

  • and vow eternal love.

  • They weave necklaces out of our needles

  • and paint our flowers into art.

  • They split us into logs to heat their homes,

  • and sometimes they chop us down

  • just because they think we obstruct their view.

  • They make cradles, wine corks, chewing gum, rustic furniture

  • and produce the most beautiful music out of us.

  • And they turn us into books

  • in which they bury themselves on cold winter nights.

  • They use our wood to manufacture coffins in which they end their lives.

  • And they even compose the most romantic poems for us,

  • claiming we're the link between earth and sky.

  • And yet, they do not see us.

  • So one of the many beauties of the art of storytelling

  • is to imagine yourself inside someone else's voice.

  • But as writers, as much as we love stories and words,

  • I believe we must also be interested in silences:

  • the things we cannot talk about easily in our societies,

  • the marginalized, the disempowered.

  • In that sense, literature can, and hopefully does,

  • bring the periphery to the center,

  • make the invisible a bit more visible,

  • make the unheard a bit more heard,

  • and empathy and understanding speak louder than demagoguery and apathy.

  • Stories bring us together.

  • Untold stories and entrenched silences keep us apart.

  • But how to tell the stories of humanity and nature

  • at a time when our planet is burning

  • and there is no precedent

  • for what we're about to experience collectively

  • whether it's political, social or ecological?

  • But tell we must

  • because if there's one thing

  • that is destroying our world more than anything,

  • it is numbness.

  • When people become disconnected, desensitized, indifferent,

  • when they stop listening, when they stop learning

  • and when they stop caring

  • about what's happening here, there and everywhere.

  • We measure time differently, trees and humans.

  • Human time is linear --

  • a neat continuum

  • stretching from a past that is deemed to be over and done with

  • towards the future that is supposed to be pristine, untouched.

  • Tree time is circular.

  • Both the past and the future breathe within the present moment.

  • And the present does not move in one direction.

  • Instead it draws circles within circles,

  • like the rings you would find when you cut us down.

  • Next time you walk by a tree, try to slow down and listen

  • because each of us whispers in the wind.

  • Look at us.

  • We're older than you and your kind.

  • Listen to what we have to tell,

  • because hidden inside our story is the past and the future of humanity.

Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Mirjana Čutura

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If trees could speak | Elif Shafak

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/25
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