Wednesday Quotes
Silence of a Forest
May 6, 2015


“The treasures within the earth were long hidden, and trees and forests were thought of as her ultimate gift to mankind. … Even images of shining gold and ivory are worshipped less by us than forests and their silence.” Natural History, Pliny

There is nothing like a forest. Especially in spring. Plant, animal and mineral meld seamlessly into a vibrant whole. How can we even begin to describe the confluence of factors that makes it so wonderful? Colors, textures, shapes, and smells. And sounds.

The best silence is not that of absence, but of presence. Somehow the sounds of the forest give emphasis to the silence, as though it were calling out, like a thrush in spring; to us.

One is struck by the emptiness, an emptiness of all that is not real, not natural, not belonging. Here I can just be, and be filled by that emptiness. Somehow I too belong, even while being an interloper of sorts.

A forest is not the ultimate gift, nor is it a proper object of worship. But it is indeed a gift: one much more precious than gold. And perhaps those who worshiped forests and their silence had glimpsed something, something we too often miss.

Would that we could learn how to see, and to hear. That silence. Especially in spring.

Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) was a Roman naturalist and general. His Natural History is an important early work in natural science.

Image: the woods behind my home this morning.

Leave a Reply


  1. Spring, vibrant forest
    whole, ancient epiphanies,
    for interlopers.

    Thank you for today’s forest. It reminds me of others I sometimes visit in my memory.

    1. What a delightful comment. Thank you so very much. Memory is a blessed thing.

  2. Amanda Mosier Bauknight

    Thank you for your tribute to the forest and many of the special reasons to love it. I would like to share a document I prepared for my Garden Club program recently. I live and work in a Family Forest so the discovery of “Shinrin-Yoku” was very exciting to us! Is there an email address to which I can send the program document. I know you’ll find it interesting. You will find my email address below. Thanks! Amanda

    1. Amanda, Thanks very much. Go to the ‘contact’ tab above to send something to me.