There is another old white pine that I see on my morning walks, next to the the Capisic Brook near my home. Even as the old white pine at my home sent me on a search for the history of this land, so both of these pines lead me into a search for their spiritual meaning. Maine is called the Pine Tree state, and the White Pine is the state tree.
When settlers first came to this land, they found old growth forests with white pines being the tallest of the trees in the east. Many of them were cut down to use as masts on the English ships. In fact, any straight tree over 24 inches in diameter was marked for use by the king, but people often ignored that marking. I read that the old-growth trees were all cut by the mid 1800s.
In the same article, they identify two old pines found in Acadia National Park as 154 and 147 years old. That made me wonder if the method I had used to date the white pine in our back yard was accurate–if that pine was actually 162 years old, it should be on the EasternOldList. On the other hand, if the land was undeveloped for a hundred fifty years, (just a blank space on the map) perhaps it would not be so impossible that it should be counted among these old ones.
Pine needles are full of vitamin C, and the inner bark was also edible–made into a kind of flour by the Wabanaki people here. Among the Haudenosaunee, the white pine was the Tree of Peace–symbol of their confederation of nations, the five nations symbolized in the five needles in one packet, and the agreements they made to keep peace among their nations.
Modern science has discovered that pine trees release compounds known as phytoncides, airborne chemicals which protect the trees through anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. These compounds also support the “natural killer” cells of our human immune system. So walking in the woods has actually been proven to be good for our physical and mental health.
While searching the internet for the meaning of the white pine, I found that another blogger The Druid’s Garden posted this:
In my experience, these trees retain their roles as peacemakers for us today in order to rebuild human-land connections. Often on damaged lands, even if no other spirits or trees are open to communication, the White Pine will be the intermediary.
Since my purpose in learning about the trees on my land is to rebuild our human-land connection, I may see if our white pine is willing to offer that mediation.