Thoreau and the Language of Trees
Trees were central to Henry David Thoreau’s creativity as a writer, his work as a naturalist, his thought, and his inner life. His portraits of them were so perfect, it was as if he could see the sap flowing beneath their bark. When Thoreau wrote that the poet loves the pine tree as his own shadow in the air, he was speaking about himself. In short, he spoke their language.
In this original book, Richard Higgins explores Thoreau’s deep connections to trees: his keen perception of them, the joy they gave him, the poetry he saw in them, his philosophical view of them, and how they fed his soul. His lively essays show that trees were a thread connecting all parts of Thoreau’s being—heart, mind, and spirit. Included are one hundred excerpts from Thoreau’s writings about trees, paired with over sixty of the author’s photographs. Thoreau’s words are as vivid now as they were in 1890, when an English naturalist wrote that he was unusually able to “to preserve the flashing forest colors in unfading light.” Thoreau and the Language of Trees shows that Thoreau, with uncanny foresight, believed trees were essential to the preservation of the world.
8 A KINGDOM OF PRIMITIVE OAKS
9 TRANSFORMED BY SNOW
Autumnal Tints bark beauty blossoms boughs Boxboro Boxborough branches color Concord dark Davis Elm Days of Henry December December 26 earth emblem Emerson Excursions Fair Haven fall February February 12 feet forest green ground Henry David Thoreau Henry Thoreau Herbert Wendell Gleason Higgins hill Hubbard’s ibid Inches Woods January 26 Journal leaf lichens light limbs loggers look Maine Woods March 18 Massachusetts Merrimack Rivers miles naturalist nature’s needles never November oak leaves oak wood October October 22 pasture perchance perfect pine tree pine wood pitch pines red maple river roots sail scarlet oak seeds seen September shore shrub oak side silvery Sketch by Thoreau snow soil spire spirit spring stand stood storm stump surf swamp Thoreau loved Thoreau saw Thoreau wrote thought tops town trunk twig village Walden Pond Walking waving white oak Wild Fruits willow wind winter woodlot yellow birch