Biologist and poet David Haskell has published a new book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature, in which he reflects on visits over a whole year to the same spot in a Tennessee forest to chronicle his observations. It is both a scientific lesson and a meditation.

Haskell refers to the spot in the forest as a “mandala” similar to the sacred circles formed by Buddhist monks and uses it as a metaphor through which he sees the entire forest. For the author, everything is evolutionary.

Some of my photos are accompanied by quotations from The Forest Unseen:

“Birds change the texture and tone of their songs by adjusting tension in the muscles that wrap the syrinx; the thrush’s song is sculpted by at least ten muscles in the syrinx, each one shorter than a grain of rice.”

“…every rock, trunk, and twig is crusted with lichen.”

“Spring wildflowers take advantage of the trees’ sluggishness, rushing through their reproduction and growth before the tree canopy steals life-giving photons”

Readers of Forest Unseen will experience a wealth of scientific information and understanding as well as new insight into the many ways all life in the forest is interconnected, all in a poetic and meditative way.

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