Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed, chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man’s life only saplings can be grown, in the place of old trees – tens of centuries old – that have been destroyed.

John Muir

Like many in my generation, I devoured J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings with great relish. The metaphors, archetypes and stories from the rich world of Middle Earth continue to resonate through my mind many years after my last reading. One of my favorite creations is the sentient, intelligent, and wise race of Ents. These humanoid trees spoke too slowly and at a frequency too low for humans to perceive. They moved through the forest at a pace too slow to be perceptible.

Some years ago I hiked with a friend to a sacred Native American burial ground in the mountains of Northwest New Mexico…