Conversation with a Tree



Magnolia Little Gem 

I dispense with the usual formalities of conversing and jump right in.

‘So, I see you are flourishing. You must like it here.’

A breeze shifts in the upper branches and they bend toward me.

‘I’ll take that as a yes?’

Leaves rustle softly.

‘The thing is, you are doing well at the expense of others. Have you thought about that? Does it bother you at all?’

A crowd of noisy miners flock to perch above me, picking through the Old Man’s Beard (Tillandsia) and epiphytic orchids at home on the slender trunk. Ants trek upwards in single file. A Golden Orb spider weaves her silken threads between branches.


Old Man’s Beard

‘Yes. I see your point,’ I concede. ‘You provide for other creatures, other life forms.’ Trees are never silent, you see. But to hear, one must tune-in to their esoteric arboreal language.

‘However,’ I persist, ‘you must admit, those plants at your feet struggle for a share of sunlight which grows increasingly less as you branch out and reach further skyward,’ I say. While trees are rarely silent, they can be sullen and sulky sometimes. Minutes march past like the ants.

‘Please don’t misunderstand me,’ I say, more conciliatory now, as I wrap my arms around the narrow trunk and lay my cheek against the smooth cool bark.

‘I love the work you do. I love your being here.’  I feel the life force like an energy field surging upwards. ‘And yes, it was me who decided where you would live,’ I reply with  insight offered by reflection.

‘I have an idea,’ I say, as a light bulb flicks on. The woman who lives in my head is at home.

Half an hour later, formerly sad little ground orchids look happier in their sunny new home. I brush the dirt from my trowel. The shade-loving hair’s foot ferns nestles at the base of my tree. Striped bromeliads hunker down beside them into the newly vacated space.

I sip my tea and survey a problem resolved, one caused simply by a slip of judgement. I hadn’t given enough thought to the future potential when I planted the sapling. I didn’t listen to my tree’s needs.

My tree and I get on much better these days. So much can be resolved by just having a conversation. Sometimes I am my best listener.

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.

Marcus Tullius Cicero



Hair’s foot fern

52 responses to “Conversation with a Tree

  1. Amazing how problems can be solved with a bit of lateral thinking. And talking to trees is important although I don’t know if that’s for me or the tree! But I do it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. your writings bring to mind the Peter Sellers film ‘Being There’ . . I am sure you would have seen it . . let me know when you compile a book of your modern wisdom and I will be first in line .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this, Robyn. I miss conversations with trees, despite the fact that there are plenty round here I seem to have lost the art… instead I talk to birds. 🙂

    As a matter of interest – what is the tree in your top photo?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Val. The tree in the photo is a magnolia Little Gem. Will not grow huge which is good for my limited space. I get over enthusiastic with how much I can fit in and then have these shade issues. Sigh. Birds are great conversationalists. A lot less subtle. I wish I had more like you do. Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s been some time since I checked into your posts…and what a great one to have waiting for me. I’ll try to stay in touch a little better, maybe even send an email. Cheers! Kim.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah, you’ve made me feel guilty. I’ve been doing brutal things to an over-grown old rose bush in my yard, and I’m not sure if I explained the necessity.

    On the other hand, the blossoms were few and far between last summer, so perhaps the rose bush had its own way of telling me something? And once I can get nearer to its base, I can clear away some of the self-sown opportunists that may be crowding its roots.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Communication is vital Denise. Perhaps you were having that conversation without realising it – it can happen. The aged among us (tongue firmly in cheek here – I mean, I’m definitely in that category) recognise the care others take to help us out. Your rose bush will bloom her thank yous. Now that’s the kind of conversation I like.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always had a kind of affinity for trees and think there’s a lot to be said for interspecies communication if you keep your ears open another. Anyway, this was very enjoyable and interesting to read. One of my favourite of your posts. Thanks for sharing. Really liked the idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As a fellow tree hugger, I get it. I talk to every living thing, I suppose. Glad you discovered those shade lovers. I’m a shade lover too. Thanks so the follow. I hope to keep your interest. If I get boring, please gently let me know. Ha

    Liked by 1 person

    • All ‘fellow tree huggers’ are welcome Lisa. I have visited your blog and it’s anything but boring. Being fair skinned and born in cooler climes, I’m a shade dweller too. That’s why we need trees!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amen. I’m not even a sunroof fan. As a former sun worshipper it’s hard to admit but shade is my friend. And my skin’s friend. I should have listened to my mother. Hard headed young thing back in the day.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.