What We Learn from Trees, Episode 93

What happens when we stop relating to ourselves and others as things? A conversation about trees, depth, and openness to one another with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

Here’s Episode 93 of Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify

We easily forget how wide, deep and mysterious it is to be a human being, and in doing so we misunderstand ourselves as things. And when we relate to ourselves this way – as objects – we run the risk of reducing everything and everyone to an object in our own image. It’s this way of ‘flattening’ ourselves and life that can most easily be undone when we open ourselves to the way of being of the non-human world – an invitation beautifully made in this episode by Howard Nemerov’s poem ‘Trees’.

Join us for a conversation about openness, relating differently to fear, connecting deeply with the world and other people, and understanding how it’s our relationships that make each of us who we are.


To be a giant and keep quiet about it,
To stay in one’s own place;
To stand for the constant presence of process
And always to seem the same;
To be steady as a rock and always trembling,
Having the hard appearance of death
With the soft, fluent nature of growth,
One’s Being deceptively armored,
One’s Becoming deceptively vulnerable;
To be so tough, and take the light so well,
Freely providing forbidden knowledge
Of so many things about heaven and earth
For which we should otherwise have no word—Poems or people are rarely so lovely,
And even when they have great qualities
They tend to tell you rather than exemplify
What they believe themselves to be about,
While from the moving silence of trees,
Whether in storm or calm, in leaf and naked,
Night or day, we draw conclusions of our own,
Sustaining and unnoticed as our breath,
And perilous also—though there has never been
A critical tree—about the nature of things.

Howard Nemerov

Photo by Jordan Sanchez on Unsplash