Thoreau’s Wisdom


I often look to the trees as symbols of life. I see them as wise, in their presence I am reminded of my humbleness. They are sanctuaries and shelter for humans, birds, squirrels, snakes, insects, frogs, and so many more creatures. They tower to the skies as beacons of strength, providing shade, oxygen, and a place for rest to leopards and koalas. As a child, when I would climb up a tree, I felt a sense of adventure and solitude. I like to look up, when amidst tall trees, to the canopied sky.

Bainbridge Island tree


More than one hundred and fifty years after Henry David Thoreau walked through the woods of New England, his words continue to resound with wisdom and inspiration. With nature as his teacher and companion, the trees offered healing and renewal. “We are accustomed to say in New England that few and fewer pigeons visit us every year. Our forests furnish no mast for them. So, it would seem, few and fewer thoughts visit each growing man from year to year, for the grove in our minds is laid waste…Our winged thoughts are turned to poultry. They no longer soar…We hug the earth–how rarely we mount! Me-thinks we might elevate ourselves a little more. We might climb a tree, at least…”

Flanders trees

Image: Rodney Graham, Flanders Trees, 1993, courtesy of

Our world would be upside down without trees. Today, look up to the treetops and be inspired to grow.

1 comment

  1. What a lovely post. I love the Thoreau piece; as a requiem it is even more poignant today than when he sat on that Massachussets hill and watch the townsment fell the tree.
    Engaging and personal introduction, too. And you pique my curiosity with this: ” As a child, when I would climb up a tree, I felt a sense of adventure, and safety, and solitude, and power that no other place on earth has or can equal. ” Could you share a bit on climbing a tree and finding safety (along with adventure and solitude) high up off the ground? I sense something in that not seen moment which would shed light on why you picked that particular passage of Thoreau’s.

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