Hermann Hesse believed that trees are our greatest spiritual teachers. Walt Whitman cherished them as paragons of authenticity amid a world of mere appearances.
“Whoever has learned how to listen to trees,” Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877–August 9, 1962) wrote in what remains one of humanity’s most beautiful love letters to trees, “no longer wants to be a tree. He* wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
It’s a hard thing, achieving perspective — hard for the human animal, pinned as we each are to the dust-mote of spacetime we’ve been allotted, not one of us having chosen where or when to be born, not one of us — not even the most fortunate — destined to live for more than a blink of evolu
Two hundred and two years after Walt Whitman’s birth, I traveled to the granite emblem of his life and death. Standing sentinel across from the tomb’s entrance are two towering trees — something the poet, who likened his most beloved friend to a tree, would have appreciated.