Trees. Home is within you.

Trees Forest in winter

“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. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

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 tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: 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. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

Hermann Hesse, (1877-1962). Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte


Source: Good Memory.  Image:  Milesend

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Comments

  1. What a beautiful, powerful meditation. I have always found the silence of a forest awe-inspiring. This line, especially, resonates with me: “Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”. When I see a stand of trees that has been clearcut, I feel physically ill–this beautiful passage helps me understand why. Lots to think about here, David–thanks….happy Sunday morning. Lori

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  2. Breathtakingly beautiful…there is something analogous to Native American reverence for Nature within Hesse’s words. It is very moving to me.

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  3. David ~ this is a lovely post ~ love the picture and love the post! At first I thought you had written it…what a perfect way to start my Sunday morning ~ you never disappoint me. Thank you! Enjoy your day!

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  4. Love this post.

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  5. Reblogged this on Flowers, Trees, & Other Such Gifts of Nature and commented:
    Beautiful…

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  6. I always seek out the solace and awe of trees when my mind or heart is overloaded. Bodies of water offer the same relief. This was so beautiful and expressed what I’ve always felt.

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  7. so soothing on this cold winters day…

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  8. This is the most beautiful beautiful writing I have read in years. The story told is so deep that I cried the entire read…then read again…thank you. This I must reblog for it is a beautiful love story of earth to human…

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  9. Reblogged this on The Other Side of Ugly and commented:
    When I read this I cried for it is a love story more beautiful than any I have read in years. Why? Because it is true, and it involves me and you and every human on earth…

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  10. It would be a sorry world without trees.

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  11. This is one of the most beautiful and inspirationl pieces that I’ve read in years. Have always felt a kinship with trees since my days on the farm, roaming the woods along the river. Rivers, that’s another love affair.
    Paul

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    • Paul, I had the identical response. I was pulled away to another place reading his writing. And you raise the topic of Rivers. I was running near my Brother’s home in Vancouver Island on a well groomed trail. Along a river. Not another soul around. Large majestic trees similar to what Hesse described. I ran for 7 miles and was swept away. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Paul.

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  12. Great post. Will not look at a tree as just a tree anymore.

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  13. The love you share for trees in your wonderful post i really feel! As far back as i can remember I loved being in the embrace of some special friends…trees and i wrote poems about them “The Tree”, ” The Oak Tree”, lifting them up for what i felt from their hearts and the spirit within them. I always felt they were my safe harbor…and I would cry everytime I saw a tree die or destroyed for it felt like a lifelong friend was taken away. the two poems are on my site. I enjoyed your post and it was a delight to read. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. So very wonderful… I always look to the trees for stability and grounding; Hesse is brilliant and so very sensitive in his love for them. Thanks for this….

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  15. The reverence Hesse offers these majestic beings is an ode of pure love and a reminder that in these beings is rooted deep wisdom for a life lived with GRACE!
    thank you for sharing… it’s really special!

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  16. Lovely…….somehow this beautiful writing reminds me of walking in the redwood forests, where the giant trees, have been standing as silent witnesses to the changes of planet earth, some for 2000 years. How silent are the groves of these ancient beings, the human mind is subdued in their sacred presence. Thanks for posting Hesses’s words….in peace…

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  17. Valuable post. It is true that trees have breathing, restful & it’s own thoughts.
    It is unfair to cut the trees for personal comforts like building houses etc.
    In fact we have very many uses of trees when as they are for peaceful breeze, to give shade when under hot sun and many more.
    It is, hence said to protect forests, greenery etc.
    Thank you for posting a Great reminder. ALL THE BEST.

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  18. Hi, David, I wish I was more current wtih your posts–I save them until I can give them the attention they deserve. The line that resonated with me in this beautiful post is “My strength is trust”. So profound.

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