Articles and Essays

Her we share some of our favourite writings about trees, woods and forests at home and abroad. Please use the “Comments’ box below to add some of you own favourites.

Hermann Hesse on What Trees Teach Us About Belonging and Life

“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.”

“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.”

Running for the Trees by Suzanne Joinson (24/03/2020)

“Like many others, when it got real, I ran to the trees. Literally ran, slamming the car door shut and jogging up a woodland path. I wanted clean air in my lungs and to breathe, to feel them expand. But mostly, I needed the trees.”

Seeking the trees: a rewilding diary by Emily Warner

In this extract from Emily Warner’s rewilding diary for The Clearing, she reflects on her work comparing and documenting regenerating plant communities in the ungrazed heathland and forest, in Glen Affric in the Scottish Highlands.

The Cosmic Miracle of Trees: Astronaut Leland Melvin Reads Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests

“Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.”

Calculating the Incalculable: Thoreau on the True Value of a Tree

“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.”

Relationship Lessons from Trees

“I think of good love as something that roots, not rots, over time, and of the hyphae that are weaving through the ground below me, reaching out through the soil in search of mergings.”

Losing the Birds, Finding the Words: Eve Ensler’s Extraordinary Letter of Apology to Mother Earth

“I am the reason the birds are missing… I am made of dirt and grit and stars and river, skin, bone, leaf, whiskers and claws. I am a part of you, of this, nothing more or less. I am mycelium, petal pistil and stamen… I am energy and I am dust. I am wave and I am wonder. I am an impulse and an order.”

How to Disappear: The Art of Listening to Silence in a Noisy World

“There is… the fertile silence of awareness, pasturing the soul… the silence of peaceful accord with other persons or communion with the cosmos,” Paul Goodman wrote in his 1972 taxonomy of the nine kinds of silence. But where does the modern soul go to pasture on awareness and commune with the cosmos in a civilization increasingly savaged by noise? Where do we find, and how do we protect, those places where, in the lovely words of the poet Wendell Berry, “one’s inner voices become audible [and,] in consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives”?

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