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The Tree Of Life

If ever there was a tree with a story, it has to be this one. Labeled the “Tree of Life” by many, it draws people to the coastline of Washington State and HWY 101 hoping to see for themselves how just a few tenacious roots can possibly be keeping it suspended over a cave on the beach. What gives this steadfast Sitka Spruce its resiliency?


“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. The do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neighter here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from oneโ€™ suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts. Trees have long thought, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives that ours. The are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve and incomparable joy. Whoever has leaned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” -Hermann Hesse


Have you visited this iconic tree while walking Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Peninsula? Have you wondered of the tales it might tell if only it could talk? With all of our recent storms, let’s hope it survives to continue its testimony…

This post is inspired by Thursday Tree Love on the blog Happiness and Food.

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7 thoughts on “The Tree Of Life

  1. Absolutely stunning and such a story of survival. The pictures intrigued me so much that I went again and again to see how is it hanging in there. Thank you for joining. What a fabulous entry and that story too.

  2. Awesome ! I have never seen a tree like this, I love the way you have captured these pictures, the thoughts too are deep and reflective, thanks for sharing such a great post.

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