At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.
I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need their beauty and grandeur. I need their imperious silence. I need it against the witless bellowing of the barracks yard and the witty chatter of the yes-men. I want to hear the rustling of the organ, this deluge of ethereal notes. I need it against the shrill farce of marches.
One disagreeable result of whispering is that it seems to evoke an atmosphere of silence, haunted by the ghosts of sound - strange cracks and tickings, the rustling of garments that have no substance in them, and the tread of dreadful feet that would leave no mark on the sea-sand or the winter snow.
A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Benedict's hand clenched by his side, still tingling where it had touched her. He wished she'd let him do more. It was so romantic out here in the darkness; the cool breeze rustling through the trees and the moonlight showing faintly through cloud. They were completely alone and it felt like the sort of night where anything could happen. It was a pity that Tamsin didn't seem to feel the same way.
Some years ago, when the images which this world affords first opened upon me, when I felt the cheering warmth of summer and heard the rustling of the leaves and the warbling of the birds, and these were all to me, I should have wept to die; now it is my only consolation. Polluted by crimes and torn by the bitterest remorse, where can I find rest but in death?
There is eloquence in the tongueless wind, and a melody in the flowing brooks and the rustling of the reeds beside them, which by their inconceivable relation to something within the soul, awaken the spirits to a dance of breathless rapture, and bring tears of mysterious tenderness to the eyes, like the enthusiasm of patriotic success, or the voice of one beloved singing to you alone.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk The dew that lay upon the morning grass; There is no rustling in the lofty elm That canopies my dwelling, and its shade Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint And interrupted murmur of the bee, Settling on the sick flowers, And then again Instantly on the wing.
William C. Bryant
The grass is full of ghosts tonight.' 'The whole campus is alive with them.' They paused by Little and watched the moon rise, to make silver of the slate roof of Dodd and blue the rustling trees. 'You know, ' whispered Tom, 'what we feel now is the sense of all the gorgeous youth that has rioted through here in two hundred years.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
As I do not live in an age when rustling black skirts billow about me, and I do not carry an ebony stick to strike the floor in sharp rebuke, as this is denied me, I rap out a sentence in my note book and feel better. If a grandmother wants to put her foot down, the only safe place to do it these days is in a note book.
Every day, streets papered with more and more for. Reward, reward, reward. Reward for information. If you see something, say something. A paper town, a paper world: paper rustling in the airm whispering to me, hissing out a message of posion and jealousy. If you know something, do something. I'm sorry, Lena.
Chester's playing filled the station. Like ripples around a stone dropped into still water, the circles of silence spread out from the newsstand. And as people listened, a change came over their faces. Eyes that looked worried grew soft and peaceful; tongues left off chattering; and ears full of the city's rustling were rested by the cricket's melody.
I shall be glad to see thee back, daughter, for I miss thee dreadfully. I wish I did not! I was taking a nap in my chair today, and I thought I heard thee rustling thy papers, and I looked over at thy table expecting to see thee, and alas! thee was not there, and it was dreadful.
Hannah Whitall Smith
Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud-and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word. But in the night of Death Hope sees a star and listening Love can hear the rustling of a wing.
Robert Green Ingersoll
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, the longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home.
As fog moved to the mainland I heard a flock of birds fly over. They sounded like a dress rustling, a dress being unfastened and dropping to the floor. Fog came unpinned like hair. On the beach cliffs, great colonies of datura - jimson weed - with their white trumpet flowers, looked like brass bands.
In the forest you may find yourself lost, without companions. You may come to a river which is not on a map. You may lose sight of your quarry, and forget why you are there. You may meet a dwarf, or the living Christ, or an old enemy of yours; or a new enemy, one you do not know until you see his face appear between the rustling leaves, and see the glint of his dagger. You may find a woman asleep in a bower of leaves. For a moment, before you don't recognise her, you will think she is someone you know.
They couldn't have a little kid occupying an important spot on the front row, so I sat in the back where all the models changed clothes. I remember vividly the rustling and the rush of the fabrics of the clothes and the swoosh of textures and color as they went by. I was in the back, but I had a front-row seat, in my opinion.
Linda Johnson Rice
All it has experienced, tasted, suffered: The course of years, generations of animals, Oppression, recovery, friendship of sun and - Wind Will pour forth each day in the song Of its rustling foliage, in the friendly Gesture of its gently swaying crown, In the delicate sweet scent of resinous Sap moistening the sleep-glued buds, And the eternal game of lights and Shadows it plays with itself, content.
The earth covered with a sable pall as for the burial of yesterday; the clumps of dark trees, its giant plumes of funeral feathers, waving sadly to and fro: all hushed, all noiseless, and in deep repose, save the swift clouds that skim across the moon, and the cautious wind, as, creeping after them upon the ground, it stops to listen, and goes rustling on, and stops again, and follows, like a savage on the trail.
Rob turned the rustling pages and grinned. 'Ach, she's writ here: "Oh, the dear Feegles ha' turned up again, "' he said. This met with general applause. 'Ach, what a kind girl she is tae write that, ' said Billy Bigchin. 'Can I see?' He read: "Oh dear, the Feegles have turned up again." 'Ah, ' he said.
Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, of silence. Waiting for our Lord to be born. A pregnant woman is so happy, so content. She lives in such a garment of silence, and it is as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her. One always hears that stirring compared to the rustling of a bird in the hand. But the intentness which which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence.
Even the street, the sunshine, the very air had a special Sunday quality. We walked differently on Sundays, with greater proprietyand stateliness. Greetings were more formal, more subdued, voices more meticulously polite. Everything was so smooth, bland, polished. And genuinely so, because this was Sunday. In church the rustling and the stillness were alike pervaded with the knowledge that all was for the best. Propriety ruled the universe. God was in His Heaven, and we were in our Sunday clothes.
Rose Wilder Lane
Candleford Green was but a small village and there were fields and meadows and woods all around it. As soon as Laura crossed the doorstep, she could see some of these. But mere seeing from a distance did not satisfy her; she longed to go alone far into the fields and hear the birds singing, the brooks tinkling, and the wind rustling through the corn, as she had when a child. To smell things and touch things, warm earth and flowers and grasses, and to stand and gaze where no one could see her, drinking it all in.
It was October again ... a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain - amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
I heard from clear across the city, over the Hudson in the Jersey yards, one fierce whistle of a locomotive which took me to a train late at night hurling through the middle of the West, its iron shriek blighting the darkness. One hundred years before, some first trains had torn through the prairie and their warning had congealed the nerve. "Beware, " said the sound. "Freeze in your route. Behind this machine comes a century of maniacs and a heat which looks to consume the earth." What a rustling those first animals must have known.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me "" filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door "" Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; "" This it is, and nothing more.
Edgar Allan Poe
To be an artist it is not necessary to make a living from our creations. Nor is it necessary to have work hanging in fine museums or the praise of critics . . . To be an artist it is necessary to live with our eyes wide open, to breathe in the colors of mountain and sky, to know the sound of leaves rustling, the smell of snow, the texture of bark . . . To be an artist is to notice every beautiful and tragic thing, to cry freely, to collect experience and shape it into forms that others can share.
In summer we live out of doors, and have only impulses and feelings, which are all for action, and must wait commonly for the stillness and longer nights of autumn and winter before any thought will subside; we are sensible that behind the rustling leaves, and the stacks of grain, and the bare clusters of the grape, there is the field of a wholly new life, which no man has lived; that even this earth was made for more mysterious and nobler inhabitants than men and women. In the hues of October sunsets, we see the portals to other mansions than those which we occupy.
Henry David Thoreau
Okay, let me get a pen." There were rustling noises. "I can't find one." More noises. "Okay,shoot." "You found a pen?" "No, but I have a can of Cheez Whiz. I'll write your number on the counter with it, then find a pen and copy it." Jaine recited her number and listened to the spewing noise as Shelley Cheez-Whizzed it on her countertop.
He couldn't look back at the children. He couldn't think of it. All he could do was watch the eyes of his wife. He pulled her to him, her body soft, her skin warm. She was life, she was his. He took her lips and tasted his freedom once more. The subtle tenderness. The hope hidden in joined breath. He took it into himself. Soaking in the peace that came with it. And even as the rustling began he felt still, he felt calm. Scratching and scrapping within the stones, and the rustle of wings. But all Eli knew was the nature of love.
Rachel A. Marks
All forests have their own personality. I don't just mean the obvious differences, like how an English woodland is different from a Central American rain forest, or comparing tracts of West Coast redwoods to the saguaro forests of the American Southwest... they each have their own gossip, their own sound, their own rustling whispers and smells. A voice speaks up when you enter their acres that can't be mistaken for one you'd hear anyplace else, a voice true to those particular tress, individual rather than of their species.
Charles de Lint
She listened to the soft splashing sound when the water met the bank. It took just a few moments before she was able to completely fade out the smell of pollution and inhaled the salty air. The soft breeze mingled with the swooshing and splashing of the waves, with the rustling of grass, the tictac as long undressed twigs of the tree met each other, composing a gentle melody like wooden wind-chimes. The whole concert of nature calmed her down like nothing had ever been able to.
At present we are on the outside... the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get 'in'... We will put on glory... that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. We do not want to merely 'see' beauty - though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words-to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
GATHERING LEAVES Spades take up leaves No better than spoons, And bags full of leaves Are light as balloons. I make a great noise Of rustling all day Like rabbit and deer Running away. But the mountains I raise Elude my embrace, Flowing over my arms And into my face. I may load and unload Again and again Till I fill the whole shed, And what have I then? Next to nothing for weight, And since they grew duller From contact with earth, Next to nothing for color. Next to nothing for use. But a crop is a crop, And who's to say where The harvest shall stop?
It is generally recognized that creativity requires leisure, an absence of rush, time for the mind and imagination to float and wander and roam, time for the individual to descend into the depths of his or her psyche, to be available to barely audible signals rustling for attention. Long periods of time may pass in which nothing seems to be happening. But we know that kind of space must be created if the mind is to leap out of its accustomed ruts, to part from the mechanical, the known, the familiar, the standard, and generate a leap into the new.
...trees to cool the towns in the boiling summer, trees to hold back the winter winds. There were so many things a tree could do: add color, provide shade, drop fruit, or become a children's playground, a whole sky universe to climb and hang from; an architecture of food and pleasure, that was a tree. But most of all the trees would distill an icy air for the lungs, and a gentle rustling for the ear when you lay nights in your snowy bed and were gentled to sleep by the sound.
trees to cool the towns in the boiling summer, trees to hold back the winter winds. There were so many things a tree could do: add color, provide shade, drop fruit, or become a children's playground, a whole sky universe to climb and hang from; an architecture of food and pleasure, that was a tree. But most of all the trees would distill an icy air for the lungs, and a gentle rustling for the ear when you lay nights in your snowy bed and were gentled to sleep by the sound.
He thought himself awake when he was already asleep. He saw the stars above his face, whirling on their silent and sleepless axis, and the leaves of the trees rustling against them, and he heard small changes in the grass. These little noises of footsteps and soft-fringed wing-beats and stealthy bellies drawn over the grass blades or rattling against the bracken at first frightened or interested him, so that he moved to see what they were (but never saw), then soothed him, so that he no longer cared to see what they were but trusted them to be themselves, and finally left him altogether as he swam down deeper and deeper, nuzzling into the scented turf, into the warm ground, into the unending waters under the earth.
In a split second of eternity, everything is changed, transfigured. A few bars of music, rising from an unfamiliar place, a touch of perfection in the flow of human dealings--I lean my head slowly to one side, reflect on the camellia on the moss on the temple, reflect on a cup of tea, while outside the wind is rustling foliage, the forward rush of life is crystalized in a brilliant jewel of a moment that knows neither projects nor future, human destiny is rescued from the pale succession of days, glows with light at last and, surpassing time, warms my tranquil heart.
The city is sore with movement, but still it oscillates. Busy people churn through grey-toned streets, their briefcases held close, rustling against trouser legs. The collective machine is tired, but each worker drives on. Gleaming taxis mirror stiletto heels, warping perfection. Laughter is rare, loud and sharp and these people want to believe they breathe, but airless buildings dominate. Smoke is lost above forgetful heads. Happiness is a silk label inside a lapel, a silver jaguar poised atop an aimless car.
Carla H. Krueger
My mother, who is a pianist and a fine artist, purchased a piano for me. Twice. This was back when I was a small girl. Pianos, of course, came complete with the quintessential piano teacher who whacked my hand with a stick each time I struck the wrong key. I learned a few pieces, yes, but eventually my pen compelled me to write too much and the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind compelled me to climb trees too often. Sorry mom. Coincidentally, books come from trees and flipping the pages sounds like wind through leaves... hhhmmmm... I guess I'm still just climbing trees now, but in a different way!
C. JoyBell C.
But now, our daily monkeyshines are such, our preoccupations are so low, our language has be come so debased, the words so blunted and damaged, we've said such stupid and dull things, the the higher beings hear only babbling and grunting and TV commercials - the dog-food level of things. This says nothing to them. What pleasure can these higher beings take in this kind of materialism, devoid of higher thought or poetry? As a result, all that we can hear in sleep is matter creaking and hissing and washing, the rustling of plants, and air conditioning. So we are incomprehensible to the higher beings. They can't influence us and they themselves suffer a corresponding privation.
But can one be a blessing merely by being cheerful? Yes; moral beauty of any kind exerts a silent influence for good. It is like a sweet flower by the wayside, which has a benediction for everyone who passes by. A legend tells how one day in Galilee the useful corn spurned the lilies because they fed no one's hunger. 'One cannot earn a living just by being sweet, ' said the proud cereal. The lilies said nothing in reply, only seemed the sweeter, then the Master came that way; and while his disciples rested at his feet, and the rustling corn invited them to eat, he said, 'Children, the life is more than meat. Consider the lilies, how beautiful they grow.' It certainly seemed worth while then just to be sweet, for it pleased the Master.
James Russell Miller
The Stars. Jared slept beneath them, uneasy in the rustling leaves. From the battlements Finn gazed up at them, seeing the impossible distances between galaxies and nebulae, and thinking they were not as wide as the distances between people. In the study Claudia sensed them, in the sparks and crackles on the screen. In the prison, Attia dreamt of them, She sat curled on the hard chair, Rix repacking his hidden pockets obsessively with coins and glass discs and hidden handkerchiefs. A single spark flickered deep in the coin Keiro spun and caught, spun and caught.
Gemma Davidson, ' she answered, her voice as groggy as I felt. 'Where are you?' I asked. 'Who is this?' 'Elvis.' 'What time is it?' 'Hammer time?' 'Charley.' 'Did you text me? Did your car break down?' 'No and no. Why are you doing this to me?' She was funny. 'Check your cell.' I heard a loud, sleepy sigh, some rustling of sheets, then, 'It won't come on.' 'Not at all?' 'No. What did you do to it?' 'I ate it for breakfast. Check the battery compartment.' 'Where the hell is that?' 'Um, behind the battery door.' 'Are you punking me?' I heard her fumbling with the phone. 'Gem, if I was going to punk you, I wouldn't simply turn off your phone. I would pour honey in your hair while you slept. Or, you know, something like that.' 'That was you?' she asked, appalled.
This process of assimilation, which takes place in depth, requires a state of relaxation that is becoming rarer and rarer. If sleep is the apogee of physical relaxation, boredom is the apogee of mental relaxation. Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away. His nesting places - the activities that are intimately associated with boredom - are already extinct in the cities and are declining in the country as well. With this the gift for listening is lost and the community of listeners disappears. For storytelling is always the art of repeated stories, and this art is lost when the stories are no longer retained.
Will looked at him curiously. 'Do you think you will see me again?' At the change in Jem's expression, he added, 'I mean, is there a chance for me? To have another life after this, a better one?' As Jem opened his mouth to answer, a rustling came from beneath their feet. Just as they both looked down, a tentacle shot from the surface of the river, wrapped itself around Jem's ankle, and yanked him beneath the surface of the water. Will bolted to his feet with his blade in hand; the water was still boiling where the creature's tentacles were thrashing wildly, indicating that Jem was getting some good blows in. Will's heart pounded, firing blood and the call of battle through his veins. 'Hell, ' he said. 'Just when it was getting interesting, too, ' and he leaped into the water after his friend.
Boys are like elastic bands. It doesn't mean that boys are made of elastic, which is a plus because nobody wants a boyfriend made out of rubber. On the other hand, if they were made out of rubber, you could save yourself a lot of time and effort and heartache by just rustling one up out of a car tire. Boys are different from girls. Girls like to be cozy all the time but boys don't. First of all, they like to get all close to you like a coiled-up rubber band, but after a while, they get fed up with being too coiled and need to stretch away to their full stretchiness. Then, after a bit of on-their-own strategy, they ping back to be close to you. So in conclusion on the boy front, you have to play hard to get and also let them be elastic bands.
Many people, after spending a long weekend being stealthily seduced by this grand dame of the South, mistakenly think that they have gotten to know her: they believe (in error) that after a long stroll amongst the rustling palmettoes and gas lamps, a couple of sumptuous meals, and a tour or two, that they have discovered everything there is to know about this seemingly genteel, elegant city. But like any great seductress, Charleston presents a careful veneer of half-truths and outright fabrications, and it lets you, the intended conquest, fill in many of the blanks. Seduction, after all, is not true love, nor is it a gentle act. She whispers stories spun from sugar about pirates and patriots and rebels, about plantations and traditions and manners and yes, even ghosts; but the entire time she is guarded about the real story. Few tourists ever hear the truth, because at the dark heart of Charleston is a winding tale of violence, tragedy and, most of all, sin.
Christians must show that misery fits the good for heaven, while happiness prepares the bad for hell; that the wicked get all their good things in this life, and the good all their evil; that in this world God punishes the people he loves, and in the next, the ones he hates; that happiness makes us bad here, but not in heaven; that pain makes us good here, but not in hell. No matter how absurd these things may appear to the carnal mind, they must be preached and they must be believed. If they were reasonable, there would be no virtue in believing. Even the publicans and sinners believe reasonable things. To believe without evidence, or in spite of it, is accounted as righteousness to the sincere and humble christian. In short, Christians are expected to denounce all pleasant paths and rustling trees, to curse the grass and flowers, and glorify the dust and weeds. They are expected to malign the wicked people in the green and happy fields, who sit and laugh beside the gurgling springs or climb the hills and wander as they will. They are expected to point out the dangers of freedom, the safety of implicit obedience, and to show the wickedness of philosophy, the goodness of faith, the immorality of science and the purity of ignorance.
Robert G. Ingersoll
To Have Without Holding: Learning to love differently is hard, love with the hands wide open, love with the doors banging on their hinges, the cupboard unlocked, the wind roaring and whimpering in the rooms rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds that thwack like rubber bands in an open palm. It hurts to love wide open stretching the muscles that feel as if they are made of wet plaster, then of blunt knives, then of sharp knives. It hurts to thwart the reflexes of grab, of clutch, to love and let go again and again. It pesters to remember the lover who is not in the bed, to hold back what is owed to the work that gutters like a candle in a cave without air, to love consciously, conscientiously, concretely, constructively. I can't do it, you say it's killing me, but you thrive, you glow on the street like a neon raspberry, You float and sail, a helium balloon bright bachelor's buttons blue and bobbing on the cold and hot winds of our breath, as we make and unmake in passionate diastole and systole the rhythm of our unbound bonding, to have and not to hold, to love with minimized malice, hunger and anger moment by moment balanced.
We Let the Boat Drift I set out for the pond, crossing the ravine where seedling pines start up like sparks between the disused rails of the Boston and Maine. The grass in the field would make a second crop if early autumn rains hadn't washed the goodness out. After the night's hard frost it makes a brittle rustling as I walk. The water is utterly still. Here and there a black twig sticks up. It's five years today, and even now I can't accept what cancer did to him - not death so much as the annihilation of the whole man, sense by sense, thought by thought, hope by hope. Once we talked about the life to come. I took the Bible from the nightstand and offered John 14: "I go to prepare a place for you.""Fine. Good, " he said. "But what about Matthew? 'You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'" And he wept. My neighbor honks and waves driving by. She counsels troubled students; keeps bees; her goats follow her to the mailbox. Last Sunday afternoon we went canoeing on the pond. Something terrible at school had shaken her. We talked quietly far from shore. The paddles rested across our laps; glittering drops fell randomly from their tips. The light around us seemed alive. A loon-itinerant- let us get quite close before it dove, coming up after a long time, and well away from humankind
His new friends did not, perhaps, realize the overpowering effect of the sudden change upon this northernbred man; the effects of the moonlight and the soft trade-wind, the life of love which surrounded him here. Love whispered to him vaguely, compellingly. It summoned him from the palm fronds, rustling dryly in the continuous breeze; love was telegraphed through the shy, bovine eyes of the brown girls in his estate-house village; love assailed him in the breath of the honey-like sweet grass, undulating all day and all night under the white moonlight of the Caribbees, pouring over him intoxicatingly through his opened jalousies as he lay, often sleepless, through long nights of spice and balm smells on his mahogany bedstead-pale grass, looking like snow under the moon. The half-formulated yearnings which these sights and sounds were begetting were quite new and fresh in his experience. Here fresh instincts, newly released, stirred, flared up, at the glare of early-afternoon sunlight, at the painful scarlet of the hibiscus blooms, the incredible indigo of the sea-all these flames of vividness through burning days, wilting into a caressing coolness, abruptly, at the fall of the brief, tropic dusk. The fundament of his crystallizing desire was for companionship in the blazing life of this place of rapid growth and early fading, where time slipped away so fast. ("Sweet Grass")
Henry S. Whitehead
From the vast, invisible ocean of moonlight overhead fell, here and here, a slender, broken stream that seemed to plash against the intercepting branches and trickle to earth, forming small white pools among the clumps of laurel. But these leaks were few and served only to accentuate the blackness of his environment, which his imagination found it easy to people with all manner of unfamiliar shapes, menacing, uncanny, or merely grotesque. He to whom the portentous conspiracy of night and solitude and silence in the heart of a great forest is not an unknown experience needs not to be told what another world it all is - how even the most commonplace and familiar objects take on another character. The trees group themselves differently; they draw closer together, as if in fear. The very silence has another quality than the silence of the day. And it is full of half-heard whispers, whispers that startle - ghosts of sounds long dead. There are living sounds, too, such as are never heard under other conditions: notes of strange night birds, the cries of small animals in sudden encounters with stealthy foes, or in their dreams, a rustling in the dead leaves - it may be the leap of a wood rat, it may be the footstep of a panther. What caused the breaking of that twig? What the low, alarmed twittering in that bushful of birds? There are sounds without a name, forms without substance, translations in space of objects which have not been seen to move, movements wherein nothing is observed to change its place. Ah, children of the sunlight and the gaslight, how little you know of the world in which you live! ("A Tough Tussle")
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. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. 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. A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. 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. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. 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.