The Lungs of the Earth

Trees, or better, forests, are known as the lungs of the earth.

Not only do their leaves produce oxygen, but their trunks and branches are made of carbon extracted from the air. Until burned, this noxious carbon is stored as wood fibres and strong timber.

How fascinating that we living mammals breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, not only by exhaling, but by burning fuel for cooking, heating and transportation! What a marvellous relationship!

Estimates show that one person in a developed country needs to plant 150 trees every year, the trees of which must each live for 25+ years to offset their lifetime carbon emissions.


What interests me is that the stuff of narrative is tension, crisis and conflict. It is from this crisis, the characters or heroes gain their agency, their mission, their adventure, journey, and eventual self discovery. From crisis comes catharsis – and in this story gives us satisfaction.

The crisis and tension alone is noxious and stressful, but woven into story it becomes the strong wood fibres and timber architecture of a tale.

lungs 2

British 19th century author G. K. Chesterton wrote:

Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey.

I propose then that stories are the lungs of the soul, as trees are the lungs of the earth.

Their food is the noxious tensions and crises of life. They architect their strong trunks and boughs from the stuff of bogeys, fears and fights. And they give out life giving atmosphere of catharsis, resolution, and redemption.

lungs 3

I wonder how many stories each person needs to tell or share to offset our heart and soul’s noxious fumes.

Many I imagine !


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