The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell (November book)

Had 10 Buds at the bookclub on the 19th of November (see picture below)


the book scored a 4 🙂 out of 5!
please comment about anything pertaining to the listed book.

ordered 3 October 2019

Preface: talk about two monks – path to enlightenment (the cycle of life…community)

look at the small to see the world
this book is a story of how small things are used to see the whole forest


a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer’s search for completeness and self-unity.

Jan. 1st -partnerships
the rotting leaves in the sandstones. Outstanding colors from the cold months of the winter

accommodate to the water, not the water to yourself

each living creature has a “torpedo-shaped mitochondria that functions as a miniature powerhouse”. They were once free-living bacteria that gave up sex and freedom in favor of partnership. Are genetic DNA was swapping their genes among many species.

Jan 17th – Kepler’s Gift

first deep freeze of the year with sparks noise like gunfire on the trees moving
from ice-stiffened branches
snow flake is like a six-side rule (it’s architecture)
snowflakes shows us the spirit of the earth and God
goes back to the atoms existence (floating around molecules
Kepler had insights on the atoms

January 21st – the experiment

took off clothes, and after 2 seconds the experiment was failing (lasted about 1 min)
small animal get cooler quicker
Bergmann’s rule about size and temp. feathers vs. naked body
feathers are for insulation
chickadees live in a hyperreality of color
could be feed for hawks!
winter is tough for chickadees, about 50% will survive
the body has taken on a different path than the chickedees

January 30th – Winter Plants

changing winds lower the temperature
5 species of birds fly together (10M flock)
plant surrender, but they return (when this get cold)
plants move DNA to the center of their cells and then wrapped in cushioning
cells soak themselves with sugar, heat is released when ice forms
cells don’t let the sugar molecule to escape, thus twigs come back from winter

February 2nd – footprints

a cleft-hoofed mammal fed on plant material
some animal enjoy soft tissue need microbes
2.5 billion years ago photosynthesis was developed
rumens are about 55 million ears old
talk about deer digestion process

equilibrium with the deer
big issues, large herd
“deer phobia”

Darwin: The world is in flux
pieces of creation can be destroyed

February 16th – Moss

exult in the wetness
their bodies tapped into the cloud energy
smells of earth/life

2 types of mosses (green as baby lettuce)
is mosses revolutionary? like ferns?

water is all inside in big structures (buildings, even humans)

mosses are equipped with sugar and protein for rebuilding (repair)
also sun catcher

the crystalize into rock candy in a drought.

February 28th – Salamander

thrives in moisture
follows the cool humid air
salamander skin is a patchwork of scent glands
global warming will hurt the salamander population.
adults are territory
logging debris are like “breeding grounds”

March 13th – Hepatica

temperature has been worm
wild flower are starting to emerge
hepatica is starting on a stem
flower starts to bloom
the flower is intuiting bees to come take a look!
was this a sign of Gods purpose of creation…metaphysics the person was a shoe maker
plants to help spiritual growth…the signature of the plant through the eyes of God
signatures were very useful…name plants after their use nesses
their are boundaries in all signature.

March 13th – Snails

largest snails travel alone
they have shinny skin

March 25th – Spring Ephemerals

every step crushes dozens of wild flowers
cycle of life beneath the canopy below ground stems
some stems could be hundreds of years old
Ephemerals need to harness the sunlight
the love of flower and nectar
talk about egg laying
stay at home for your bee nest
all bee sperm species have the same chronozones
bees are like “who lays the most eggs”
then, the insect predators emerged
there is long tongue bees for some pollen

chainsaw is ripping through the forest, it was at a golf course (next to forest)
what part of nature do we want?
how much do we need? is it our desires?
We stripped more trees in the 19th century thab- the ice age accomplished in nineteen hundred thousand years
it’s all about oil! fast growing trees are added
can the natives be restored?
we want to turn forest into a groomed industrial project (modern forest)

April 2nd – Flowers

looked at the chickweed
with stigma, petals, catching pollen
a food storage cell is developed during pollination??
some trees create flowers to shed either pollen or to harvest pollen from the wind
longevity of plant is determined by the shape of the lower
It all has to do with natural selection

April 8th- Xylem

carbon dioxide is turned into sugar
the Xylem tube (or wood) creates cellsto move water
hickory xylem is wide and also weak
some old Xylem can be used to move water
evaporation move hundreds of gallons o water up tree trunks

April 14th – Moth

a moths tongues has thousands of chemical detectors
they have six tongues
Moth give package of practical salt, food, and sperm
the proboscis??? HAAAH??
moth sticks like a tic
sweat is pushing sodium…and some potassium.
humans use sweat to cool themselves
most mammals do not swear
the mandala??? HAAH?

April 16th – Sunrise Birds

chick weed flowers
birds sing year round’
woodpeckers and bluejets join the song
even cowbirds, and wrens
thrusts song of 10 muscle in syrinx (high pitched songs)
talk about photons in the plant (millions of years)
talk of wavelengths (like an air molecule)

April 22nd – Walking Seeds

springtime flowers have came to an end
pollination by wind is important
Bees deliver pollen directly
there is male an female flowers
female flowers stigma is more bulb-ish
ants grab fruits to their nests
ants more the fruits a little way from its origin
like deer droppings instead of ants (distance dispersal distance)
seed dispensed long away from their parants
now there is imported fire ants
the elaiosome that will attract seeds for ants to eat

April 29th – Earthquake

stressed rock
inertia helps measure the movement of the earthquake
It measure in a logarithmic value

May 7th – Wind

ephemeral wildflowers
need large trunk to stiffen truck to collect the sun shine
trees bend and roll (leaves work as a defensive posture)
the density of fallen trees is a sign of the health of a soil
trees can adopt to natural selection (helicopter design)

May 18th – Herbivory

Insects are plagued by eating insects
like holes in leaves (leaf hoppers) tap flow with insects mouth
they drink 200 times their own weight (creation of honey-do from leaf hopes??)
most insects have ancient bacteria in their cells
chemical affect ancient bacteria
competition is the key to revolutionary process
talk of insects growing on the New York Times vs. the London Times

May23th – -Ripples

mosquitoes penetrate authors skin
needle is flexible
it searches for a larger vessel of blood systems
sometimes they “try again”
will harvest the blood to support the mosquito eggs
west Nile virus is possible
Getting malaria is a virus in a cycle from mosquitos
West Nile virus will be affected by the declining bird population

June 2nd – Quest

experience a tic (author)
tic is waiting for the victum to latch on them
they wait for host for weeks
they drink water from the air *******
one in 10 larvae will find a host, the others will starve and dry up

June 10th – Ferns

in summer the air is busy with the passages of small midgets
use photosynthesis to spark growing for the next year
jumping spiders
spores for ferns only launch on dry days
ferns turn into a lily pad
they them grow into tubers (exchanging fungi in the mandala’s
ferns need moisture for the sperms to swim in
ferns displaced many earlier plants (ferns)

June 20th – A Tangle

there is a buzz in the air from all the insects
selecting sperm for snails (male/female)
did the snail expect sperm from others?
Is it a matter of natural selection?
need self fertilization
some plants are hermaphrodites….it’s not for birds!

July 2nd – Fungi

rain gushed over the mandala for two straight days and nights
this clears the air of insrcts
talk of the forest
more talk about fungi in the forest (draws author to her knees)
fungi grows by feeding on dead material
Are animals used to dispense fungi? could be find!
mating type can be in the thousands. “It’s all from spore”
cells from fungi are the same as plants or bacteria
talk about mitochondria (biology?)
is it like DNA?
the fungi on the ground is like the forest engine of decay

July 13th – fireflies

walking to the mandala
worried about copperhead snakes
fireflies flash to each other and then mate
skills of fireflies with the frequency of the flash
female is in a hiding place to mate
types of flashes determine the type of species
fireflies opens the joy of “wonder”
luciferin give the firefly its glow
light is talking about electrons (processing molecules)
does a caterpillar suffer pain? (page 144)
is the pain similar?

August 1st – Eft and Coyote

eft is a little salamander
carries poison with them (have thick skin)
whales move tail up and down, not side to side
talk of wolves and coyote
unleased evil
wolves they eat large mammals
wolves sat at the forest food web
coyotes don’t harm humans
carry seats, limits small insects, makes the area more safe

August 8th- Earthstar

summer heat causes fungi in the mandalas core
the mandalas visual field consists of give-take of thousand of species
like using a lost golf ball
does the mandala need to be “purified” of the golf ball
we need to have compassion for the mandala (discarded golf balls)
new golf balls are tough on natural ground (or pulverized)
fungi might digest these lost golf balls

August 26th – Katydid

the hole forest vibrates
unsynchronized song from insects
hatydids are singing in forest
sperm, food, and larvae form

September 21st-Medicine

birds were washing themselves in ponds
salamanders were raided for fish bait
drugs from hospital was made from plants like:
willow bark and meadow sweet leaves
plants and their molecules interact with medication taken
the birds were warblers
fox blood leaves
Every species have meditational potential
plants for birth pain and birth control with mediational properties
talk about ginseng
rich in mediational purposes defends by natural selection

September 23rd – Caterpillar

they could be sources of food for the warbirds
massive weight gains
They feast on leaves
the relies on camouflage for protection
discussion of how a caterpillar avoids ants
though, ants are like body guards for caterpillars
ants are touch and smell
birds are visual

September 23rd-Vulture

talk about a turkey vulture
they are permanent species in the area
Vulture can find leaks in most gas pipes
turkey vultures are the purist in the forest
gives animal in forest animals “last right”
they compete with the microbes from poison secretion
row crops are not good for vultures
Anthrax is big in India (like rabies)

September 26th – Migrants

migrant birds stream over mandala
caterpillars are swallowed Whole by Cuckoos
the Cuckoo travels the most for migration
they gain the memory of the star for orientation

October 5th – Alarm Waves

distant deer songs
goes out 100 meters stimulates chipmunks
this was from seeing a human (danger)
these sounds might tell other where the predator is located

October 14th – Samara

leaves are turning color
it all depends where the helicopter leaves land (wind also determines the fate)
study of seed dispersal was discussed
one in five seeds lands joined to its sibling
Most seeds fall freely
what is a samara seed (wings?) in maples?

October 29th – Faces

squirrel are out running around the mandala collecting acorns (hickory nut)
Darwin talk about facial expressions
a means of communications
does the face cause fear?

November 5th – light

Two days the forest floor was full of autumn’s leaves
now they are gone
author wanted raincoat??
plants growth is all about light
growth towards sunny outlets
woodpecker are expert in working the light
like cameo to blend into the field (woodpeckers)
color blind people are good camouflage breakers
our sensitivity to tone, hue, and intensity to light plays a role in our ecology

November 13th – Sharp-shinned Hawk

ice has returned to the mandala
birds don’t have large bladders
bird bodies run hot
birds heart is really proficient
Awe of watching birds with lifting and folding of bird wings
sharp-shinned hawks like to stay around the back-yard bird feeder (like meat locker)

November 21st – Twigs

seed husks and small twigs rain in animal’s wake
twigs grow from buds
many twigs will die before it becomes a branch
talk of yearly “growth rings” on twigs
Growth is competition for seeking sun (light)
Looking for Red light
molecules call phytochrome detects a red light or a far red light environment
could cause growth of bushy plants
they work as eyeballs
beware of fast growing trees non-native growth
all new growth takes in much carbon.
forest have saved us from climate change

December 3rd – Litter

healing chemical (molecules) from the soil ecology
start of hummus
soil smells unfriendly (by micros)
discussion about root hairs gets minerals needed for growth)
root hair release hydrogen ions to soak clay particles
minerals with positive charge
also come in acid rain (hydrogen ions)
the “fungi” talk to the roots with the results of producing phosphates
plants create sugars
thus sharing of resources between plants/fungi/& roots

December 6th – Underground Bestiary

nematodes are insects in the ground
we are thousand the size of other creatures
we are away from most animal creature to like/lie in the water
what’s a springtail? they have no eyes
they never roam above ground.
they give off chemicals for protection from gland in their skin
They create much dung
have six legs
evolution of all insects
springtail account for less than 5 percent of the total weight of animals in forest
talk about sample size
snails are the best animal lickers
talk of the arthropod body
discussion of the worms (on a leaf) has no body segments) they are water loving

December 26th – Treetops

Science is our intimacy to the world
like animal behavior
talk about the forest and the industrial machine. Global markets
Talk of data analysis

December 31st – Watching

talk of view as the sun sets
feeling of “being” while in the mandala.
fell some loneliness in the mandala
the world does not center on me!


most people can not ID many species
where is the observation?
we need skilled naturalists
focus on the state of ecosystems (fate) how to heal our lack of
few years see and fewer understand the land

done 27 October 2019

One thought on “The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell (November book)

  1. Here’s what I would have said had I not left the papers on my kitchen table this morning.

    I was surprised to learn that oxygen is a dangerous reactive chemical and had poisoned plants and had wiped out many creatures. (p. 26)

    Photosynthesis was “invented” about two and a half billion years ago. (p. 26)

    Did you know that human sweat was made from blood? Sounds kinda strange, but I guess it has to come from somewhere. (p. 79)

    I did mention the mosquito bit – fascinating!

    We all talked about his descriptive writing and the visualizations he used. Two that I noted were the passage about the winds in the trees and leaves (p. 97) and the ferns growth that brought to his mind a snake that rose up, and “attacked” and then he carried the snake visualization throughout the chapter. (p.123)

    Overall, I was very impressed by the amount of time and patience it took to make the original observations. I can do research, but patience is not one of my strong suits.

    (See, I did read the book!)

    A Happy Thanksgiving to all –



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