"trees" Posted by Scott on November 16, 1999 at 15:15:20:
I dont know what words could even describe what goes through my head, a flurry of sporadic intuitions and questions and doubts and fears and confusion. And I try and try but, sometimes I force myself to let it come, whatever it is, knowledge, understanding...
This is a poem, that you may all have read, but it is a truely great poem by Hesse... And it holds too much for me not to post it here, as a move, as a post, I am not sure, things are complex, but need to be simple. I am lost, but this is my move:
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.
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