Why I Wrote a Book About Trees

Why I Wrote a Book About Trees February 26, 2019


Great trees have a hold on the earth we cannot match.

They stretch and grow and renew their leaves over such a long time, they fit in their place in the earth–belong to it–in ways we may dream of belonging but never entirely achieve.

Unlike the ancient white oak that dances in place on the edge of the golf course near my house, we are not rooted. We roam, and we wander. Much like the flowers or grass in the field, our lives are fleeting.

I thought of this today as I read the morning office in Phyllis Tickle’s wonderful prayer book The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime. The refrain for this morning reads:

Our days are like the grass; we flourish like a flower of the field;

When the wind goes over it, it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.

Sometimes I am glad about this. I have no desire to live so long that I become hollowed out like a silver maple. And I am glad to have traveled, because my eyes have seen wonders like the rainbow trees that grow on a faraway island in a faraway sea.

But I have always longed for roots, and I have always wanted to belong to some particular place.

To grow roots, we must choose at times to be still, to dance in place.

I have learned that lesson from the trees.


Readers, my new book Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace releases on March 12! It’s a call to tend the soul, the land, and the places we share with one another. It’s a reminder that the cultivation of good and beautiful places is not a retreat from the real world but a holy pursuit of a world that is more real than we know.

I hope you’ll order your copy today.

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