DSC_0024-001Greetings from my tree house. For all who wish peace and love for the world’s people, its creatures and plants, I have assembled this tree-themed photo essay.

Trees especially, because, though in many places in the world it is the season for cutting down and decorating trees to display indoors, I prefer my trees to remain alive in their natural decorations, their roots deep in the earth-world they nurture with their embrace.

All the trees featured here are native to New Zealand, many are endemic – they grow nowhere else in the world. Some are male, some female, some bisexual; their juvenile appearance may be different from their adult form. I love them all. I raised and planted them all during the last seventeen years (except the tree house of course).



I have always felt the living presence

Of trees

The forest that calls to me as deeply

As I breathe,

As though the woods were marrow of my bone

[Michael S. Glaser]




I part the out thrusting branches

And come in beneath

The blessed and the blessing trees.

[Wendell Berry]


Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.

[Chinese proverb]




And see the peaceful trees extend

Their myriad leaves in leisured dance

[Kathleen Raine]




That tree whose leaves are trembling: it is yearning for something.

[Diego Hurtado de Mendoza]




I was raised by the song of the murmuring grove.

[Friedrich Holderlin]






The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

[Robert Frost]




Walk idly around it and rest under its shadow.

[Chuang Tzu]





Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.

[Hal Borland]





And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

[William Shakespeare]







Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,

We fell them down and turn them into paper,

That we may record our emptiness.

[Kahlil Gibran]




a green thought in a green shade.

[Andrew Marvell]






In whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent and intimate hours.

[Marcel Proust]






Every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.

[Martin Luther]




What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?

[Pablo Neruda]





Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.

[George Bernard Shaw]



Let me desire and wish well the life

These trees may live when I

No longer rise in the mornings.

[Wendell Berry]




That my soul may repose on the branches of the trees which I planted,

[Part of an inscription on an ancient Egyptian tomb]


[With gratitude to online sources of poetry: Spirit of Trees; Poetry in Nature; Interesting Literature]

Update 2020/21:

All of these photographs are of my own trees, all of which (except the tree house pine) I have raised and planted over the last twenty years. This post takes on special significance this year because I have now completed a nature memoir that shares my emotional and physical experience as a migrant who stopped in New Zealand’s northern sand country to plant hundreds of native trees, and lives within the community of nature’s creatures that the trees now nurture.

Woven into the memoir is the deep-time formation of the surrounding landscape – the dunes, the lakes, the wetlands and the long beach are all ‘cousins’ formed by the same ancient process of erosion and the sea’s deposition – along with some local history, and the mythology of living nature that supported me from both Māori culture and my own Celtic heritage. I hope the memoir will be published in the coming year, and I will post progress.

sunset over the sea


Dr Trish Nicholson, a social anthropologist, is the author of A Biography of Story, A Brief History of Humanity, a global social history of the power of stories in the comedy and tragedy of human affairs. You can also order this book from your favourite bookshop (print only)

“Stories are like deep-rooted trees that survive through flood, drought, heat and cold to provide fruits that nourish each generation gathered within the shade of their branches.” [A Biography of Story, A Brief History of Humanity p.413]






The Peace of Trees
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2 thoughts on “The Peace of Trees

    • December 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you. I’m so pleased, coming from you who knows so much about trees and whose love for them is without boundary.

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