"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words." ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Tree Wins


Short poem by William Stafford:

Gravity -- what's that?"

When we first moved here, we hired a tree trimmer to assess the entire yard, which was a mess. We observed that the original owners who planted that oak tree as a nice finishing touch to their front yard a hundred years ago probably never envisioned that it would flourish to the point of one day nearly obscuring the front of the house. Our tree guy just shrugged his shoulders and delivered his conclusion: "The tree wins. It'll be here long after we're gone."

Always nice to have a bit of existentialism thrown in with your tree service! Since then, whenever we're faced with the inevitable, we look at each other, shrug like the tree guy, and acknowledge the truth: "The tree wins."


1. Another short poem by William Stafford:

We think it is calm here,
or that the storm is the right size."

2. September 2013

"But on the other hand, and I can't really understand why, I do care about the birch trees. . . . all the swaying, rustling birch trees and I felt light, so light.

"After I'd had a chance to think about it for a while I began to understand why I felt this sudden joy . . . when anyone talks about trees, any trees: the linden tree in the farmyard, the oak behind the old barn, the stately elms that have all disappeared now, the pine trees along wind - swept coasts, etc. There's so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature -- yes, that's it: just thinking about trees and their indifferent majesty and our love for them teaches us how ridiculous we are -- vile parasites squirming on the surface of the earth -- and at the same time how deserving of life we can be, when we can honor this beauty that owes us nothing. . . . I suddenly felt my spirit expand, for I was capable of grasping the utter beauty of the trees."
(169 - 70)

from The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
See more on my bookblog: "Girls of Summer"

3. February 2017

"At 83, Sibelius said, 'For the first time I have lately become aware of the fact that the period of our earthly existence is limited. During the whole of my life this idea has never actually come into my mind. It occurred to me very distinctly when I was looking at an old tree there in the garden. When we came it was very small, and I looked at it from above. Now it waves high above my head and seems to say, "You will soon depart, but I shall stay here for hundreds more years." ' " (149)

from The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead
by David Shields

1 comment:

  1. Comments from friends:

    Joni: Of course you can't correct what isn't wrong!!!! the tree wins.

    Sara: I love the message and the picture. I was trying to say something profound and witty, but that is your department, so I will quit while I'm ahead!

    Luda: Nice blog! I like the design and the picture! Thanks a lot for sharing it with me. I did not know that you are a writer, wow!