I have had a long love affair with trees. It started when I was a child and would climb the large Elm in my backyard. Sometimes to read. Other times to just sit and be away from everything and everybody else. Often it was a refuge. And I was devastated when the people who bought my mother’s house said the tree had to go. We even had to pay for the removal.
When we built our home in Texas, I carefully nurtured a few saplings that had popped up, and those saplings grew into very large Elms that my kids enjoyed climbing. So did my grandkids when they came along.
Fast forward almost forty years to where I now live in East Texas. My home is surrounded by massive pines and hardwoods. When my neighbor cleared the fenceline on his property across the road from me, I cried when he took down the magnificent birch that was arrayed in golden splendor every autumn.
More recently, I cried when the tall ceder fell on my property. It was a tree that my husband particularly liked, as it was shaped so perfectly like a giant Christmas tree. We often joked about what it would take to bring the tree inside to decorate, but ultimately decided that it should stay outside where we could enjoy it for more than a season.
So when I found this article at Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, I was intrigued. She writes interesting articles about all sorts of topics, including the many aspects of creativity.
I have taken just a bit of the article to share with you, and I do hope you will click on the link above to read the whole thing. She writes about what Hermann Hesse and Walt Whitman thought about trees:
“When we have learned how to listen to trees,” Hermann Hesse wrote in his lyrical love letter to our arboreal companions, “then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.”
In the years following his stroke, Walt Whitman ventured frequently into the woods — “the best places for composition.”
One late-summer day in 1876, he finds himself before one of his favorite arboreal wonders — “a fine yellow poplar,” rising ninety feet into the sky. Standing at its mighty four-foot trunk, he contemplates the unassailable authenticity of trees as a counterpoint to what Hannah Arendt would lament a century later as the human propensity for appearing rather than being.
In a meditation from the late summer of 1876, Whitman writes:
“How strong, vital, enduring! how dumbly eloquent! What suggestions of imperturbability and being, as against the human trait of mere seeming. Then the qualities, almost emotional, palpably artistic, heroic, of a tree; so innocent and harmless, yet so savage. It is, yet says nothing.”
I found it so interesting that these creative men connected so closely to trees and marveled at the idea of Hesse listening to trees. Not to the wind rustling through the leaves, I suspect, but to the message in their strength and stature.
Then later in the article when Maria cites quotes from Whitman, the one about the qualities of a tree resonated with me. Especially “It is, yet says nothing.”
If we followed that example we would stop trying to convince others of who we are by our words, we would let them see who we are by our actions. Or by no actions when doing nothing is the wiser course.
Part of what I got out of reading the whole post by Maria, other than the affirmation of how I feel about trees, was the importance of being true to who we are. As well as encouragement to stand tall and strong and stately and let our presence encourage others to do the same.
Before you go, don’t forget to enter the giveaway contest that I’m sponsoring with several other authors. The prizes include a 7″ #Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon eGift Card, and a book-lover coffee mug from a great site for Reader Giveaways -The Kindle Book Review. Just click on this link and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. The contest runs until November 30, and you can enter every day to have more chances to win one of the prizes.
I’m sponsoring that giveaway with the first book in the Seasons Mystery Series, Open Season, which is a bargain at only 99 cents for Kindle.
I’m also sponsoring the $400 Black Friday Giveaway on another site, and you can ENTER HERE. The prize is a $400 shopping spree at Amazon, just in time to do some Holiday shopping. The book featured on that site is One Small Victory
That’s all for me, folks. I do hope your week starts off well and you have a fun, productive time.