To the great tree-loving fraternity we belong. We love trees with universal and unfeigned love, and all things that do grow under them, or around them – the whole leaf and root tribe! Not alone when they are in their glory, but in whatever state they are – in leaf, or rimed with frost, or powdered with snow, or crystal-sheathed in ice, or in sever outline stripped and bare against a November sky – we love them. Our heart warms at the sight of even a board or a log. A lumber-yard is better than nothing. The smell of wood, at least, is there; the savory fragrance of resin, as sweet as myrrh and frankincense ever was to a Jew.
Under this oak I love to sit and hear all the things which its leaves have to tell. No printed leaves have more treasures of history or of literature to those who know how to listen. But, if clouds kindly shield us from the sun, we love as well to couch down on the grass some thirty yards off, and amidst the fragrant smell of crushed herbs, to watch the fancies of the trees and clouds. The roguish winds will never be done teasing the leaves, that run away and come back., with nimble playfulness. Now and then, a stronger puff dashes up the leaves, showing the downy under-surfaces that flash white all along the up-blown and tremulous forest-edge. Now the wind draws back his breath, and all the woods are still. Then, some single leaf is tickled, and quivers all alone. I am sure there is no wind, the other leaves about it are still. Where it gets its motion I can not tell, but there it goes fanning itself, and restless among its sober fellows. By and by one or two others catch the impulse. The rest hold out a moment, but soon catching the contagious merriment, away goes the whole tree and all its neighbors, the leaves running in ripples all down the forest-side. I expect almost to hear them laugh out loud.
Henry Ward Beecher, one of Americas greatest pulpit orators. Peeking into his inquiring mind leaves no doubt why his preaching was so well loved.
Photo by Francisco Pinto