“The Ancient Law of Life”

November 11, 2015 Parkway 015


“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.


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“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 fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.


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“Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.


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“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 farm boy 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.


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“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.


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“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life.


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“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.


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“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.


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“I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else.


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“I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy.

Out of this trust I live.”

Hermann Hesse


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015


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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

2 responses to ““The Ancient Law of Life”

  1. Trees seem to bring out the poet in all of us.

  2. Great and stirring quote – and lovely photos to go with it!

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