The Tangled Nest

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Reading to Trees

October 9th, 2012 · 14 Comments ·

You will have to trust me on this:  Thinking about reading to a tree feels stranger than actually reading to a tree, especially once you get going.  The other day I walked to the wooded park near my home with a particular aspen in mind and a book in my pocket.  What does one read to an aspen?  Though I am sure there are many possibilities, the answer on this day for this tree was obvious. Keats.

If you read aloud to a tree, you will find yourself in the company of an uncommonly attentive, responsive, possibly even grateful listener.  And is the tree’s response (a singular stillness, a branching rustle, the dropping of golden leaves after a particular line, Thou art a dreaming thing, A fever of thyself…as if to whisper, Yes, yes…) real or imagined?  I know how I would reply to this question, but I am not at all certain that it matters.  We are always, and everywhere, part of a great conversation.

 

(Thanks to Flickr user rickhanger.)

trees, urban nature

14 Comments so far ↓

  • Matilda

    Lovely, lovely idea. There aren’t many things as comforting as hugging a tree and I can imagine reading to it will be a similar experience. I imagine they will love G. Manley Hopkins!

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Love this idea. May do this with my children, too.

  • Chris

    Yeah…

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    • Nelton

      That was an exciting day to race and a great epncriexee to keep too. Loved to try this but I too far away in Texas where the next race happened.

  • Maurie

    I love this idea. Having spent a good time talking to, hugging and playing the flute for trees, I see this as a great addition. So on my walk this afternoon I grabbed my book of Robert Frost poetry and made a stop at the pair of Birch trees near the Log House Museum. I found the poem Birches to be well received. Lots of leaf rustling. Then the poem October was read to the heritage willow up on the hill. The reading was a little breathy due to climbing said hill, but it too was well received. The crows seemed to perk up near by at the line concerning crows, as well. ; )

  • Irene

    I have hugged a tree, sat in a tree, sat under a tree, sang with a tree, but never read to a tree.
    Today we bought a new tree that we plan to plant in a day or two . Maybe I should read to it to insure it lives a long and happy life in our yard.
    Couldn’t hurt.

  • Charlotte

    Lovely conversation with your readers too!

  • John Hillcoat

    Wonderful article. We have a very large mango tree in our backyard. It is old and no longer bears fruit. Someone recently suggested that I cut it down. I strongly disagreed with this as the tree has presence. I often quietly sit in the cool shade of the tree on a hot day and listen to leaves rustling in the wind. And I wonder what the tree may be saying.

  • Kimi

    Hi Lyanda,

    I’ve trying to figure out how to email you. We met about a year about at a Seattle Tilth event. Any, I am taking a writing class at the UW and will be doing an article on crows. I would LOVE to be able to interview you. Would that be possible? Please let me know. kimicar24@yahoo.com
    Thank you!

  • Nicole Olalla

    I love this. I am a Recreational Tree Climber and I love to write poems to trees, they are my inspiration. I also work with and GOTC, Global Organization of Tree Climbers http://www.gotreeclimbing.org and will love to talk more about it. We teach how to climb trees with arborist ropes and harnesses, utilizing time-tested, safe techniques. It is a great activity for kids 7 and up and adults. Let me know if you are interested in knowing more about this. Regards and thanks again.

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