Thursday, January 8, 2015

the heart is pierced

"The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.”

- Peter Matthiessen

“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

“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. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”

- Hermann Hesse

Some photos I took before Christmas and was waiting for the right day to post.

You'll recognize the lovely tree from an earlier post. These were taken at a slightly different time of day. The sun was out this time, still low, of course. Winter light has many pretty tricks. The photos below were taken from another side, so you can see the way it leans. (Life is not easy, life is not difficult).

When I posted the original tree photo on Facebook, I mentioned that this was my favourite tree. A few people seemed surprised. Doesn't everyone have a favourite tree? Perhaps not. As a child, there was a particular birch tree on the edge of a clearing at our cabin in an 80 acre wood. It was difficult to find sometimes, as though it possibly moved....


  1. I do have favourite trees and cannot imagine to not have them. Beautiful pictures! And your tree is wonderful indeed.
    You make me want to read Hermann Hesse. Which is a good thing, because I should start reading more in my own language again.

  2. a favourite tree: not at all strange to me!!
    i have had that ever since i were a child and i will never forget how sad a day it was for me when one of them were cut down. i was about 8 years old and it was the most beautiful apple tree that was standing close to my grandparents garden. a new house were built and the tree needed to be cut down. i remember it like it was yesterday.. those memories, how they stay with companions through life.

    thank you for sharing Hermann Hesse's writings, a new one for me. and like always your pictures are breathtakingly beautiful. a blessing to visit here!


  3. I am a tree lover too, always a favorite subject to photograph. In fact, I remember the very first book I ever took out of our library when I was young was "A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry. I bought a copy for my sons when they were little. Love the glorious golden light in your photos, Shawna and the lovely frosted branches and leaves...that one tree seems to be hanging on tight to it's leaves!

  4. Susan - I'll look that one up at the library! Thank you!

    Vibeke and Khendra - I very much love the Hesse I've read. Not everything has been translated into English, strangely. But Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and his poems - I love all of these.

  5. I can see why you love this tree - its been framed so nicely here, by your camera and by the light so that it comes alive. Is it dancing or worshipping or shoo-ing away in that last photo? Love that essay/passage by Hesse :)


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