A Place of Refuge
"Around me the trees stir in their leaves / And call out, Stay Awhile"
When I am Among the Trees ~ Mary Oliver
Since the early days of my childhood, the nearby woodlands have been a continuous source of peace, refuge and inspiration. The trees are among my dearest friends, always listening quietly to my inner struggles and celebrating my highest accomplishments. Observing how the tree communities adjust to the changing of the seasons teaches me about being. They teach me about surviving in a world that seems overwhelming at times. They give me shelter, companionship and entertainment.
Today, I invite you to take a quiet walk with me through the winter forest. Stay awhile.
When I am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
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"I am not often drawn to photograph a stand of trees in the distance, but would rather be within the forest, surrounding myself, and the viewer, with my woodland walls. As I look out the windows of my tree house, I see blue spruce, I see pine trees among the aspens, and I hear the leaves flutter as their trunks move gently and smoothly in the wind. I feel at home here, I feel at peace, I feel as if I have been delivered from those distractions we accept as the real world.”
“When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest and then up into your head. It’s such a feeling of relaxation and then you’re ready for a new day and new challenges.”
“The one who plants trees, knowing that he or she will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.”
“The trees in a forest care for each other, sometimes even going so far as to nourish the stump of a felled tree for centuries after it was cut down by feeding it sugars and other nutrients, and so keeping it alive. Only some stumps are thus nourished. Perhaps they are the parents of the trees that make up the forest of today.”
“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.”
I think that I shall never see
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
A tree that looks at God all day,
A tree that may in summer wear
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Poems are made by fools like me,
― Joyce Kilmer, Trees
“We find trees offering us knowledge in many of the ancient stories and legends, perhaps because they alone seem to unite the earth and the sky – the known, invadable world with everything that is beyond our grasp and our power.”
“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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