In the Bible briars and thorns are a sign of God's judgement. They're the harvest we reap for being irresponsible and careless about the way we manage the Earth.
Trees that sing and clap are a sign of plenty and recovery, showing that the Earth is being well managed and is becoming fertile again. The trees celebrate and join in our praise to God whenever all is being put right with the world after a time of war or devastation.
We live in a society where most people are out of touch with nature. Many children don't know the names even of the most common trees, and many of us grown-ups wouldn't recognise most of them in the field if we looked at their shape or their leaves.
The idea of trees singing and clapping seems strange to us, but not to those who really know their trees. John Muir, an American conservationist who helped to set up America’s first national parks, said that as he listened to the sound of the wind in the tree canopies each one spoke to him in a different voice. ‘Each,’ he said, 'Has its own song as it moves.’
The famous monk St Bernard of Clairvaux once said, ‘Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books.’ Perhaps the biggest lesson is that pollution and environmental damage are preventing our trees from singing.