Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Listening To Trees

Here’s a wonderful idea by Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature With Children:

If you listen carefully with a stethoscope, you can hear the “heartbeat” of a tree. Find a thin-barked tree more than 6 inches in diameter and place your stethoscope against its trunk. Be very quiet. Move the stethoscope around until you can hear the crackling, gurgling sound of sap flowing up to the branches.

- Listening to Trees

How To Listen To Trees Communicate

1 Surround yourself in a silent environment with plenty of trees and foliage.

2 Be prepared to stay for a long while. Trees are very noble and peaceful. They neither welcome the bird nor beckon for its return. They let things be as they are. Therefore, they won't welcome your willingness to listen, they'll only see you as you are and continue with their normal behavior.

3 You should treat the trees with respect. As you meditate, make sure your respect is noticed. You are sure to be able to hear more clearly in this manner.

4 Listen to the inner sounds of the vegetation and hear them whisper to each other. The sounds will be very quiet, so you must listen closely.

5 Inhale deeply and slowly exhale to feel the discourse of the trees within you.

6 Repeat previous steps as long as you like. Hopefully this will further enlighten you.

Listening To Trees

I had to climb more
than I wanted to get here
in the midst of trees
that sigh your holy
name in the wind, in the night
bright with points of light,
so bright I see you
on the next hill with your ear
pressed against a tree.

October 29, 2009 2:54 PM


  1. I love trees and walk down by the river to be near them. I love the sound of the wind, rustling their leaves, they whisper to me, just be.

  2. today i hiked through the woods again. always, once lost, i am found. amongst the trees i am more here than anywhere else. amongst the trees i am one of them. just a sapling but perhaps one day i'll be more.

    the path divided. we got a new foot of snow the other day and there had been no one through one way. and so i went into the trees. working my body through the woods i was so alive. and too, ok if i were to die.

    i urged myself to tell my children we are alive today. here here, feel our trunks. only today exists. tomorrow is an illusion.


  3. Note to self: buy stethoscope. :) It would be cool to have a solid experience of trees' blood-sounds to go with the (rather more common) experience of their breath-sounds.

    That image of the ear pressed to a tree makes me think of tin-can telephones. If we can talk through tin cans and string, wouldn't it be something to talk through root systems and sympathetic trunks?

  4. How can we have this conversation and not bring in the Ents? Tolkein had such a wonderful vision with Treebeard and his comrades. Trees do not move very fast and their language would be slow too.

    Perhaps it would be deep as well, as deep as roots into the earth. Note to self: when I see a tree in the air I see a part of the whole. The part in the air feeds on sunlight and engages in sex. The other part of the tree is more mysterious and lives in the earth. We do not usually think of the part below ground as equally important with the part above ground. I suspect a tree with a self image would think about eating at least as much as we do and would thus cherish his or her roots, especially in winter, when many trees withdraw into them.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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