Over the holidays I received a very special book as a gift: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. He worked as a forester in Germany for many years and now manages a private woodland where he is trying to restore a native beech forest. A native forest is a very different thing than a managed forest. I've learned so much from this book. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that in forests trees exist as a community. Stronger members of that community support the weaker members. Underground root systems aided by fungi help trees share nutrients, water and other things not totally understood as yet. He opens the book by describing some stones he found in a beech forest, then realized after scraping them that they were not stones after all but living trees--the remains of giants felled several hundred years ago, and they were being sustained by the above-ground trees around them. Every chapter in the book elucidates some mystery of trees, and in an engaging way--perhaps there is a bit of anthropomorphism, but how else to understand another species? That has never bothered me when applied to animals, and it works for me on trees, too. Anyone who has ever stood in an ancient forest has experienced that place almost as a personality. It feels like nothing else--I am thinking of the giant sequoia groves in California, the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, Thunder Creek Trail in the North Cascades and big aspen groves in the west.