Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Plant Kingdom: I Am a Tree; The Trees

Guided By Voices: I am a Tree


Rush: The Trees


Most songwriters are not scientists, and vice versa. It’s probably just as well. But sometimes words get in the way of scientific fact.

Would trees survive “I have the leaves that fall off when winds blow by”? Or “I will break before I bend”? Questions, questions… But it is a great song anyway, originally from the under-appreciated Mag Earwhig, and also included on the “best of” Human Amusements at Hourly Rates. The song is by Doug Gillard, a collaborator of Robert Pollard in this particular iteration of Guided by Voices, after Pollard disbanded the “classic lineup” responsible for Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes.

And I don’t know much about Rush other than the “hits,” but the first song made me think of the second for some reason. This tune recounts a struggle between maples and oaks. Here in eastern North America, many oak species are long lived, but less shade-tolerant than sugar maple, which may replace them in dominating a forest over the long term, given moist conditions and a lack of disturbance. But here the trees “are all kept equal by hatchet, ax, and saw…”

Guest post by Paul T

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