Hermann Karl Hesse (1877–1962) was a German-born poet, painter, and novelist. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, DemianSiddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Here is a quote from him based around trees.

“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.

Tree - So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts...
Photo by Marvin Foushee (CC BY 2.0)

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, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

You may want to check out a http://standtallfortrees.org/, based on a global initiative, which also serves as a hub and catalyst for change. Plant more trees!

logo - tree - Stand Tall for Trees


Article thumbnail and cover photo by Bernd Thaller (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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Laron is an energetic healer, past life therapist, consciousness guide, poet,writer and editor from New Zealand. A strong passion of his is to expand the consciousness of others. Editor of the metaphysical site transients.info, Laron is also a bit of a bookworm. Trained by Dolores Cannon in QHHT (Past Life Regression) and Energetic Healing by well-known Australian intuitive and healer Stephen Bishop, Laron is also a Reiki Master, Crystal Healer and Tarot reader.

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5 Comments on "The tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts…"

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I've read Siddhartha a few years ago. It's about a man living at the time of the Gautama Buddha and who is also on the search for enlightenment. He actually does not take on Buddhism like so many others of the time (e.g. one of his best friends) but finds it by going along on his own path. It's not anti-Buddhist, but shows there are many paths available to us. Very interesting read indeed.


I think trees are the heroes of the forest because they cannot move away from harm and destruction. The older I get the closer to them I feel.

Thanks for this article Laron.

Hailstones Melt
Trees are one of my favourite topics, and here is a poem I wrote circa 1980. (Siddhartha was one of the best reads of my younger life, too). A TREE AS A MIRACLE If it could speak This wood could tell A hundred stories. For those who seek The history of a tree, There is immense vocabulary. There are centuries of growing, Which did not happen Without pain, Tales of sunny days, Days of rain. There is a warrior In this slow grain. Its lines are etched And criss-crossed. Yet unlike cane, this wood Is not man-bent But starved and stretched And tossed by winds. Huge forces in the sky Pull the sapling Through the dry days until, Feet planted on the floor, A giant tree sprays Its shelter over all the earth. The sap has supped The juices from its bed, And sipped the juices Which are shed from laden clouds, And crowds of birds Have found a sanctuary Within this tree. This knob of wood, This masonry of nature Which has grown in stature From a crude stalk Shallowly veiled, Corks the riches of the earth. Within its leaves A vitalizing process is at work. This cranked and… Read more »