Tuesday, April 5, 2011

trees

one of the great awakenings of my life took place when my aunt margaret (who has always wished to be called simply "margaret") gave me a copy of hermann hesse's steppenwolf as well as a copy of siddhartha.
they opened the world up to me in so many ways that i can trace back to that first astonished reading.

i still admire hesse's work and i'm occasionally thrilled by the unearthing of something of his that i have either not read before or which i have let drift into the netherworld that is my library and which, for whatever reason resurfaces to delight me all over again.

i'd like to share an excerpt here from one of his books entitled "wandering".


for me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. i revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. and even more i revere them when they stand alone. they are like lonely persons. in their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity:
nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.


trees are sanctuaries. whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. they do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. a longing to wander tears my heart when i hear trees rustling in the wind at evening.


trees have long thoughts, long breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. they are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. but when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.

from "wandering"

another beautiful excerpt from this book can be read here.

33 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

Wow! I wrote a poem called "Trees Speak" that says pretty much the same thing, though less eloquently than Hesse.

What he Hesse says about trees maps uncannily to my experience of trees. Trees speak to you, too, I know, steven. Their sentience is pretty noticeable once you tune into their manner of speaking. Thank you for sharing this.

Titus said...

Really interesting steven, I haven't read Hesse. Still getting my head round the complexity of the final extract.

OceanoAzul.Sonhos said...

Adorei Steven!!
Fez-me lembrar o poema de Fernando Pessoa, que eu adoro e me revejo nele...
"As vezes ouço passar o vento; e só de ouvir o vento passar, vale a pena ter nascido."
Abraço
OA.S

Sandra said...

As árvores morrem sempre de pé...

steven said...

dan - i am so looking forward to sitting at the foot of a tree about twenty km southwest of here that i last visited two years ago. it shared some great stories then. steven

steven said...

hi titus! i saved it for the end because it really needs to be reflected on. i'm not fully understanding the implications myself. let me know if you make any headway with it - or if anyone else does!!! steven

steven said...

sandra that is entirely true! steven

steven said...

hi oa.s, thanks for the generous comment. i just looked up fernando and ... well wow! i'm going to spend more time this coming weekend reading about him and his seventy writing personas! steven

Pauline said...

To be in the company of trees is to understand peace with one's self. Lovely post.

Valerianna said...

Great post! I didn't know that Hesse book. I did read the other two... And thanks for your generous comment on my post this morning!

ellen abbott said...

I read a lot of his books in my early 20s but I don't think I'm familiar with this one. trees. they are sentient you know. they just chose to be mostly stationary.

Dan Gurney said...

A Cinqain, steven

Trees speak
To those whose hearts
Are still enough to hear
Subsonic music, laconic
And clear.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We have many beautiful trees in the fields on our farm and I love every one - they are like people.

OceanoAzul.Sonhos said...

http://users.isr.ist.utl.pt/~cfb/VdS/v096.txt

for me, one the best...

OA.S

Linda Sue said...

This hits me right in the middle of my best memories- thanks for digging him up again! I love your wave length- you know!
You should really come to this part of the world- You really can not see the forest for the trees- it is heavenly, the woods are deep- they would embrace you.

steven said...

pauline thanks for those thoughtful words. i learned to open myself to the possibility of the love of everything for everything through learning about trees. it all began with a book by david suzuki. steven

steven said...

valerianna - you're welcome for the comment of course. your blogspace is extraordinary and sets the bars of presence and representation very high!! steven

steven said...

ellen - i like that thought a lot. i see the whole of everything as suggestive of a sentience that needs to be known through its manifestations as the surface of love. steven

steven said...

dan - you're such a good man! steven

steven said...

weaver - i can only imagine the special relationships you are able to cultivate through being as immersed as you are in the natural world. steven

Jo said...

Steven, as usual, your post is a gift to me today. The first piece from "Wandering" is exactly how I feel and what I know about trees. How lovely to know that Hesse wrote of his friends like this.

The second piece is where the true gift lays. I've never read Hesse's "Rainy Weather" but he puts into words my mood today in the most perfect way.

"Always, over and over, I will have to pay for my loved and lovely life with days like these. Always, over and over, these days and nights will come, the anxiety, the aversion, the doubt. And I will still live, and I will still love life." Exactly.

Thank you, Steven. Tomorrow is another day.

Valerianna said...

Wow, that's quite a statement coming from you! I'll store that away in my medicine bag for when I'm feeling other than confident... thanks!

Tess Kincaid said...

Aunt Margaret sounds like a wise woman. I've always felt a certain spiritual connection to trees. Lovely post, as always, my friend.

steven said...

jo thankyou for your very kind words. it brings a psecial kind of happiness and purpose to my sharing of the simple words and images i cobble together each day to know that they affect and offer insight to the incredible people who visit here. strength jo. i know the depth of suffering that goes with seeing someone very close fly away. steven

hope said...

Which is why I insist, when no one is listening, to say hello to the beautiful old gal out front...our pecan tree. She's probably 150-200 years old and I often wonder who sat beneath her spreading limbs...how many conversations she overheard and probably laughed at.

Thanks for a tree post. :)

steven said...

valerianna - have you looked at your work, your words, your photographs?!!!! wow!! steven

steven said...

tess - margaret reads these comments sometimes and i know she'll be wriggling with discomfort but she was and is very much responsible for pushing the sailboat of me away from the dock as it were and so i am deeply indebted to her. thanks for your kind comment. steven

steven said...

oa.s i translated it and of course it loses in the translation but there are riches to be had beneath the surface of his words and so i am thankful to you for pointing me in his direction. soon there will be a post or posts with portugese poetry!!!! steven

steven said...

linda sue i am drawn for many reasons to the pacific northeast. i wish it to happen. so it will. my terms? a bicycle. a cabin somewhere to hunker in for a few days or a week. steven

steven said...

hey hope!!! the stroies - oh the stories that grand lady must have! can you imagine 200 years of events. steven

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Wonderful writing! Soothing.

steven said...

thankyou very much boomer i am glad it had that effect for you. steven

Liza Ursu said...

joy!
Thanks for this post Steven, it is marvelous.
I hug trees regularly :)