If You Want to Hear a Tree Talk

If You Want to Hear a Tree Talk

If you want to hear a tree talk
to hear it tell of its story
you must first be willing
to slow down.

It is no different with a city,
if you want to hear how it whispers to itself
below the noise and din of
high heels on brick walks and passing cars
and people talking happily over drinks and
food in street side cafes.

To listen to the city, to Old Town San Diego
on Market Street tonight for me
there in the whisper below the busyness at midnight…
is a whisper of energy—
energy flowing and moving
curling in and around onto itself

Like water
Like water in the creek
flowing through the Aspen Grove
like sap—
like the sap rising in the heart wood in spring
gravitating back into roots and soil in the fall

Yes, the city, the tree…
the forest, you, me
Yes we are the same
More like the forest, I say
than we are different

Except Pando, an Aspen Grove in Utah, knows how
to live for 80,000 plus years
and we are but adolescents—
too indifferent to our self-destruction
and dreaming of immortality
while the Aspens pray
for our slowing down—

that we may hear their singing
that we may join in the chorus
of their trembling listening —
listening to the whispering of what is

to the wholeness of the rooting thread
weaving all of life into a fabric of One.

Like I say, if you want to hear a tree talk
to hear it tell of its story
you have to be willing
to slow down.

Speaking Aspens


  1. Judith Simpson

    02/12/2011 at 3:14 pm

    Ah…tangerines and kisses sound familiar
    Participants in my Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class explore tangerines…outside..inside…inside…feeling, light, color, shape, size, smell, taste, chew, swallow and on it goes: it takes a long time to explore a tangerine and, Friends, it takes an even longer time to explore a kiss!

  2. Larry Glover

    02/12/2011 at 3:25 pm

    Ahh… Love it Judith!!! And so wise too. Thank you.

  3. Carla Kimball

    02/15/2011 at 1:28 am

    Larry, I saw your post with your poem on the AoH list. I once spent two months in a yurt in Greece and found myself slowing down to the point where what the natural world had to say felt as compelling as what people had to say (sometimes even more so).
    I heard once (I believe from Meg Wheatley) that Aspen Groves are all one tree, inter-connected by a common root system. Would that we could all slow down enough to listen to our roots, to our connections…
    Love your blog…

  4. Larry Glover

    02/15/2011 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks Carla.
    Yes, this slowing down thing enough to listen… An excerpt of Meg’s beautiful piece on Aspens can be found on this blog here: Learning From Nature’s Emergent Creativity: Meg Wheatley and the Aspen Trees

  5. adrianne mccurrach

    06/19/2011 at 2:05 am

    hey larry – keep coming back to this poem. is it ok if i share it on our facebook page? i love it so much…

  6. Larry Glover

    06/19/2011 at 11:38 pm

    I’d be honored to have you share it Adrianne. And I suspect the Aspens will be too!

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