Thoreau and the Language of Trees

Thoreau and the Language of TreesTrees 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 , 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 I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go homeIt is as if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible, companion, and walked with him This year marks the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau s birth and to celebrate there are many new books out about him, this being one of them Complete with photos and passages from Thor I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go homeIt is as if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible, companion, and walked with him This year marks the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau s birth and to celebrate there are many new books out about him, this being one of them Complete with photos and passages from Thoreau s journals and essays, Thoreau and the Language of Trees is a new release that showcases Thoreau s deep understanding and reverence for trees, who he deemed the closest of companions By 1860, he focused his writing and observations solely on trees Thoreau for me is a prophet of nature, the man who wholeheartedly devoted himself to nature to reveal its spiritual truths He believed trees were expressions of universal laws and higher truths He repeatedly says in his writings how the woods were his church, the trees his spires and shrines For he was critical of organized religion, and criticized the church of his day mercilessly Men like Thoreau and Emerson were the ones who led the break from traditional religion, who championed a personal, intimate connection to the divine, and insisted that the divine was not in a church, but within us and in nature Ultimately, they wanted us to reach our full potential and believed that empowerment happened by reaching the divine within, turning inward to self cultivation and exploration, and revering nature not by conforming to society and its norms.I live in New York City and Central Park, our only real experience of nature here, has an amazing variety of trees, including many of Thoreau s favorites Oaks, Elms, Maples, Birches, and his most beloved, the Eastern White Pine, which he deemed the emblem of my life Recently when I was there, walking down a windy path, covered by a canopy of leaves, I couldn t help but think of his passages about these trees.From its first page to its last, this book was exquisite I treasured every page The tree is full of poetry Have you ever contemplated how trees impact your own inner life In THOREAU AND THE LANGUAGE OF TREES author Richard Higgins reveals how trees captured the mind and heart and soul of the keenly observant, philosophically reflective Henry David Thoreau The book is appealingly designed with abundant photographs both historic and contemporary and with helpful essays which frame Thoreau s own words about trees Here is a special book for the nightstand to dip into in quiet moments You can illu Have you ever contemplated how trees impact your own inner life In THOREAU AND THE LANGUAGE OF TREES author Richard Higgins reveals how trees captured the mind and heart and soul of the keenly observant, philosophically reflective Henry David Thoreau The book is appealingly designed with abundant photographs both historic and contemporary and with helpful essays which frame Thoreau s own words about trees Here is a special book for the nightstand to dip into in quiet moments You can illumine your knowledge of a gifted nineteenth century writer and naturalist while simultaneously bending your mind gently towards informative and uplifting thoughts about trees Refreshing perspective on trees and forests some great sentences and points to think about I liked the accompanying images and organization of the book. I really enjoyed this beautiful book It s cloth bound with silver gilding and its pages are designed with simplicity and artistry I read Walden shortly before our trip to New England in 2018 and didn t love it However, we visited Walden Pond and the site of Thoreau s cabin in the woods while we were in Massachusetts and, I must say, I was muchunderstanding and appreciative of Thoreau s observations having been there and now, evenso, after reading this book We found this book in t I really enjoyed this beautiful book It s cloth bound with silver gilding and its pages are designed with simplicity and artistry I read Walden shortly before our trip to New England in 2018 and didn t love it However, we visited Walden Pond and the site of Thoreau s cabin in the woods while we were in Massachusetts and, I must say, I was muchunderstanding and appreciative of Thoreau s observations having been there and now, evenso, after reading this book We found this book in the gift shop at the Walden Pond State Reservation and, as luck would have it, were able to meet the author and have it signed I ve always been drawn to trees and was in awe of the sheer volume and beauty of them in New England so this book is a special memento of our trip.Even though, as a Christian, I can t accept Thoreau s worldview his views on God, the universe, humanity, nature, etc , I really enjoyed reading about his depth of thought and love of nature He really is a beautiful, creative writer and his words about trees, in particular, are captivating His wit, emotion and keen power of observation are demonstrated over and over again and his words make me want to pause what I m doing and wonder at and reflect on the simple treasures all around us The book is made up of ten essays about different aspects of Thoreau s life and writing all centering around his treatment of trees Each one was not only interesting, but educational, poetic and inspiring It s hard to chose favorites, but the last two Transformed by Snow and In a Barque of Bark were particularly imaginative and inspirational Others talk about Thoreau s sharp and enthusiastic eye for all the elements that make up a tree, his methodical study of the forest, his emotional and spiritual thoughts regarding trees and his special appreciation for certain kinds of trees like the pine, elm or oak Each chapter provides a background and explanation of the topic in the form of an essay and here you get to hear the voice of the author, Higgins His appreciation for Thoreau and his subjects is evident and his writing is easy to follow and engaging, with some poignant observations of his own The second half of each chapter is a sampling of Thoreau s own writing journal entries, passages from his books or essays, etc highlighting the topic at hand These are paired with elegant black and white photos, sometimes of the very content Thoreau wrote about specific trees, for example and other times as an example of what he must have seen or experienced, or of what his surroundings look like now We even get to see some of Thoreau s sketches throughout the book which was very fun and interesting Some of the material was a little repetitive certain phrases were quotedthan once , but this was, in part, a function of the essay being followed with the actual writing of Thoreau I did find that the first time I encountered a phrase it merely primed me for the bigger impact of reading it in its original context later on having had some background information up front to help me understand and appreciate the situationfully I thought this format was very helpful in getting the most out of Thoreau s writing I wished that all of the photos had captions Only some of them do if they were specifically illustrating something being written about others were presented, I think, to inspire the reader with non specific images that referenced the themes in Thoreau s writing I still would have liked a small caption about each one as I often wondered about where when by whom the photo was taken I think all photos were taken by the author unless otherwise noted which added to my appreciation of his efforts in bringing this book together.I had to do a lot of ideological filtering because of my own worldview as Thoreau s transcendentalism abounds throughout, but it didn t really take away from being able to enjoy the book it is the same with Walden, although Thoreau s writing in Walden felt muchsuperior and antagonistic to me The author stays, for the most part, neutral in matters of religion and spirituality and seems to focus on highlighting and giving context to Thoreau s thoughts on the matter Whatever your beliefs, nature is beautiful and Thoreau s descriptions of it are just marvelous The analogies he draws, the imagery he conjures, the passion and variety of his vocabulary are so compelling As a Christian, it awakens my heart to praise the God whose creative mastery is demonstrated on all the senses in the nature around us I love that this book is handsome enough to leave out on display and that its many topics thrill and awaken the reader about something we often fail to appreciate I can see myself returning to it often to review a chapter here or there with the change of seasons or just simply to enjoy the writing of both Higgins and Thoreau This is a lovely book, thoughtful and calming Thoreau s notes, combined with Higgins photographs, are successful I have always been fond of trees but now look at them a little differently, takingtime The reward of doing so was an owl sitting on a branch just waiting for me to spot him. I have read some wonderful and detailed reviews of this book on goodreads that say almost everything I would wish to say, and better than I could I will just make a few comments I bought this book when it first came out in 2017, and have picked it up now and then until I finally finished it three years later It is that kind of a book I had entered a photography contest at the time, in which you had to look for H D Thoreau quotations that you liked, then go take a picture that would go alon I have read some wonderful and detailed reviews of this book on goodreads that say almost everything I would wish to say, and better than I could I will just make a few comments I bought this book when it first came out in 2017, and have picked it up now and then until I finally finished it three years later It is that kind of a book I had entered a photography contest at the time, in which you had to look for H D Thoreau quotations that you liked, then go take a picture that would go along with the quote Coincidentally, I found a little tiny paragraph in a newspaper advertising this book, which I hadn t heard of yet, and a presentation by the author at the incredible Harvard University natural history museum, so I wandered on in Maybe I thought I would pick up some tips I found a gem Mr Higgins was a pleasure to listen to, and obviously very knowledgeable about Mr Thoreau, and deeply caring about his work He combined his own fine photography with treasured words of the poet, to create a unique work of art I was excited to meet the author and listen to him share his insights into Thoreau as a poet, a naturalist, and a mid nineteenth century Concord resident There is a lot to appreciate Thoreau and the Language of Trees will remain within easy reach so that I can revisit it whenever I crave a moment of peace As others have said, the volume is beautiful to look at and hold as well This book is so beautifully organized That sounds like such a book nerd thing to say, but the book itself is beautiful the layout, photographs, the combination of explanatory essays by Higgins, and excerpts about trees from Thoreau s original texts and journals It was very well thought out.I would recommend the book for the layout alone, but the content matched the makeup Anytime I read Thoreau, or any other transcendentalist really, I am forced to interact with words on the page My book is This book is so beautifully organized That sounds like such a book nerd thing to say, but the book itself is beautiful the layout, photographs, the combination of explanatory essays by Higgins, and excerpts about trees from Thoreau s original texts and journals It was very well thought out.I would recommend the book for the layout alone, but the content matched the makeup Anytime I read Thoreau, or any other transcendentalist really, I am forced to interact with words on the page My book is now riddled with penciled marks documenting a conversation Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don t I did learn a great deal about him in this book and I can see now why so many of his followers are overzealous in their behaviors whether in preserving nature or living frugally I get it, really I do, but to write that a tree was screaming in pain as it went through a sawmill, is a bit much Or to have a funeral for a grand oak tree after it was cut down because it was threatening a home um, okay The essays in the book clarify context and gave perspective to the passion Thoreau had for trees as expressed in his writing I enjoyed the change of pace between essays and excerpts I especially loved the photographs in each chapter.Many times I found myself outside or at the window while reading this book and would pause to observe the trees in my sight line In the time it took me to finish it, I watched our town change from winter to spring and LOVED that I had words to encourage me to pay closer attention I even planted two new trees in our backyard this spring and consulted the book to see if they were mentioned they weren t at least not specifically.All this to say, this book is both inspiring to read and inspiring to look through It was a smooth read without condescension from Higgins Thoreau was a little condescending, at times, but nowhere did I feel Higgins tell me what to believe I m going to be silently giddy about this book for a while Higgins gives a concise and interesting introduction to the 19th Century philosopher Henry David Thoreau by hand picking, form thousands of journal, book and article entries, his favourite quotes about trees In ten chapters, he selects ten different tree topics tree metaphors and the white pine were favourites He presents his analysis of Thoreau s writing, followed by the writings themselves and his photographs, in a collage style biographical book.Without belittling the monumental task of cu Higgins gives a concise and interesting introduction to the 19th Century philosopher Henry David Thoreau by hand picking, form thousands of journal, book and article entries, his favourite quotes about trees In ten chapters, he selects ten different tree topics tree metaphors and the white pine were favourites He presents his analysis of Thoreau s writing, followed by the writings themselves and his photographs, in a collage style biographical book.Without belittling the monumental task of curating the selection, some of the entries are not perfectly matched to the subject matter However, Higgins presentation, and his own writing, make this a worthy book for anyone looking to learn a littleabout Thoreau and his views on nature in general and trees in particular I have been on a bit of a Thoreau binge this month This was the third book of his I finished in December Whereas I find John Muir s writing best taken in small doses so much aggrandizement , Thoreau s prose sits easy with me like a good friend This sampling from his unpublished journals as well as his published works hits right on my favorite topic these trees.I want to also say something about the physical book itself It is a sensual joy to hold in the hand, with a textured cloth cover I have been on a bit of a Thoreau binge this month This was the third book of his I finished in December Whereas I find John Muir s writing best taken in small doses so much aggrandizement , Thoreau s prose sits easy with me like a good friend This sampling from his unpublished journals as well as his published works hits right on my favorite topic these trees.I want to also say something about the physical book itself It is a sensual joy to hold in the hand, with a textured cloth cover that rubs agreeably against one s fingers And the cover is a handsome green with the beautiful tree embossed in silver A generous number of black and white photos complement the text on the fine paper Really, this is a high work of the bookbinder s art This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here This book is a very good introduction for those readers who have not read widely in Thoreau s journals and posthumous works The selected entries will give you a good taste of Thoreau s style and thinking about nature and particularly the relations between people and trees As Thoreau states, Old trees are our parents, and our parents parents, perchance The photos by Higgins nicely add to the text And the old photos by Herbert Wendell Gleason, though few in number, add greatly to the book s This book is a very good introduction for those readers who have not read widely in Thoreau s journals and posthumous works The selected entries will give you a good taste of Thoreau s style and thinking about nature and particularly the relations between people and trees As Thoreau states, Old trees are our parents, and our parents parents, perchance The photos by Higgins nicely add to the text And the old photos by Herbert Wendell Gleason, though few in number, add greatly to the book s value In places, I did find the book a bit formulaic and even repetitive Over all, though, the book pulled me forward and was an enjoyable read

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  • Hardcover
  • 248 pages
  • Thoreau and the Language of Trees
  • Richard Higgins
  • 13 March 2019
  • 0520294041