the wildering company of trees

When I think back over forests I have known, they all seem to have a mythical sense about them, as if old fairytales were born there amongst the pine seeds, mushrooms, leshys, ferns, sprouting from words dropped randomly by women (mostly women, you know) walking through them some day long ago. It can't be true, of course. Northern stories could not have been born in southern hill forests. But realisation slowly comes - the stories are not our ones. They are the stories whispered by the trees.  They are their legends and heroic sagas and fables.

I wish I had the particular language to know those tales.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
John Muir

"Danan said, his voice measured to the unhurried rhythm of silence, "When you have a moment, practice so you can fade in a thought from man to tree. Sometimes I forget to change back. I watch the mountains fade into twilight and the stars push through the darkness like jewels pushing through stone, and forget myself until Bere comes calling for me, or I hear the movements of Isig beneath me and remember who I am. It's a restful, comfortable thing to be. When I'm too tired to live any longer, I will walk as far as I can up Isig, then stop and become a tree." - Patricia McKillip, The Riddlemaster of Hed.

Perhaps some people feel especially bereft when they have no trees nearby because they are in some way kindred spirit to the arboreal community. They can hear, or else feel through the sap of their soft body, the stories and blessings that pass between trees.

I believe that when we are able to perceive forests as the underside of a community of trees, and that their richest being lies beneath the ground, and not each in solitary existence but as part of a weave of life and warm, rich, loving language - when we can see upside down and inside out, then maybe we will stop thinking we are gods on this earth.


  1. Your words here called so many things to mind for me. I love trees, yes, but I love the moss, ferns, fungi, and creeping creatures that live beneath the trees (and down in their roots). There are plants that cannot grow without a tree. The Indian Pipe is one. And, of course, we know that trees communicate and support one another. A community. That is what we are meant to be. There are lessons all around us, indeed, 'the gospel is written in the stars'.

    Beautiful post and photographs. ♥

    About Indian Pipes:
    About how trees communicate:

    1. hi Susan, I had very similar thoughts as i took Sarah's sharing to heart. Thank you for the links. Indian Pipe grows in my woods.

  2. thank you, your comments are always so rich and thoughtful <3

  3. that last sentence rings so true to me...

    "when we can see upside down and inside out, then maybe we will stop thinking we are gods on this earth."

    that will be a most wonderful day, for all living beings.

  4. such a lovely post to trees
    i feel my heart bow in reverence

  5. I've had a strong connection with trees since I was but a wee one. I'm afraid I talk to trees far more than to humans. They understand me better.
    Wonderful post.

  6. thank you everyone for your comments, which are so much appreciated.