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What about you? What trees grow in your neighborhood? What do trees mean to you?

As a child, trees always filled me with wonder, and weirdly enough, a sense of love and peace. They were giants. And unlike the other giants, the adults in my life, they remained silent but offered shade, fruits, and the lulling music of rustling leaves.

Once I left my childhood home, I lost touch with trees as Indian mega-cities where I moved turned less green each passing year.

In Malaysia, I went for jungle hikes, and enjoyed the long drives among forests. But Kuala Lumpur, where I lived, was not a city made for walking. I passed trees by in my car, but could not often touch them.

Singapore changed that. It is a city safe enough for long walks, and the pavements are (mostly) very walk-able.

Now that I can touch trees whenever I want, I find a lot of joy in getting up close and personal with them, taking snapshots of their gnarly or smooth trunks, marveling at their looming height, and falling in love with the entire eco-system that is each tropical tree.

The trees in the pictures above are wise souls I meet on my morning walks, and sometimes, when I stand beside them fixing my shoe or stretching my legs while leaning on them, I can hear their slow-sapping-thoughts, the decades of wisdom stored within, and a sort of patient, compassionate sentience. If I hug them, I’d be considered a kooky tree-hugger around here, so each day on my walks I pretend I need to pause for breath when I’m drawn to a tree and make sure to touch it and say hello.

I’m not sure what species each of them is, but the trees in these pictures are friends. When one on my regular haunt was felled for being too old and diseased, I couldn’t take that route for weeks.

What about you? What trees grow in your neighborhood? What do trees mean to you?


PS: I sent out the October edition of the Daily (w)rite Writing gazette today.

It has extra content in terms of calls for submissions and writing workshops–please check deadlines to avoid disappointment!
πŸ“ŒπŸ“Œ I’ve also asked for help with the ONE-SHOT gazette–I’m inviting writing prompts, so I can write fiction based on them within the universe of the #BLUEBARNOVEL .
🍁 Here’s the link to this edition, and you can subscribe here.
(Existing subscribers, could you please let me know if you received it? A lot of gmail subscribers seem to be missing it.)


This post was for Thursday Tree Love, a photo feature hosted by my friend Parul Kashyap Thakur on every 2nd and 4th Thursday of a month. The next edition will go live on October 28, 2021. If you’d like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog, and connect with Parul’s post.

Here are a few lovely trees shared on #ThursdayTreeLove – 115:

  1. Angela joins with a tree from Srinagar, India
  2. Archana joins with Mimosa Hamata from her walks around the hills of Pune
  3. JoAnna joins with trees from her hike from a nature preserve in North Carolina
  4. Alana joins with birds and trees from upstate New York in the US
  5. Lin joins with trees from around her in England
  6. Chandra joins with a tree from her work campus in the United States
  7. Divya shares Peaches and Peach trees from Brentwood in Tennessee, USA
  8. Lily joins with trees from Cold Lake Provincial Park in Canada
  9. Traci joins with many Pine trees from Raymond NH in the United States
  10. Cath joins with an Eucalyptus tree from Hobart, Australia
  11. Liz joins with trees and waterfall from the Tunnel Creek Trail in Oregon, US

My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is optioned to be a TV series by Endemol Shine.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Anil says:

    We can’t breathe without trees.

  • Divya says:

    Beautiful friends you have there. πŸ™‚
    I love how you’ve composed the first pic.

  • JoAnna says:

    It’s wonderful to know there are others who feel this way about trees and “…. can hear their slow-sapping-thoughts, the decades of wisdom stored within, and a sort of patient, compassionate sentience.” I hope there will be many more of us who understand, and hugging trees will be as normal as breathing the oxygen they give us, and we all say, thankyou!

  • Mali says:

    I’ve come to appreciate trees much more as I’ve aged. I love the natives that surround me now.

  • Cath Moore says:

    I love looking up at trees….it makes me feel giddy with joy

  • Parul Thakur says:

    Trees mean the world to me. Where ever I go, I am always looking for trees that I can recognize and see. Some big and some for the leave and foliage. I am so so glad you joined, Damyanti! Welcome to Thursday Tree Love.
    I hope to see around and you know the next edition goes live tomorrow.

  • marymtf says:

    Fig trees are beautiful, hardy (I’m a hopeless gardener) and useful. I love figs.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyantii – I’m late … but I love trees and their differences. Here in Eastbourne, south coast of England, when the town was being laid out in the 1850s or so … the Duke of Devonshire as the landowner made sure our town’s streets – were like avenues with trees along them – sadly he chose forest trees – which aren’t native to our area … and thus now many are dying and need to come down. But I love them all – cheers Hilary

  • Vinitha says:

    Trees were a part of us in our childhood. As we grew older we left the shade of trees for other important things. But the trees still have the same allure as they had in our childhood.
    Lovely shots, Damyanti.

  • Rajagopal says:

    The pics of trees are beautifully presented here, Damyanti. I have three trees dotting the small compound around my house in Kochi, India; a Pine, a giant Arjun and an Elengi. Together, they make their soothing presence felt, offering cover of rustling leaves amply sheltering me from the blazing summer heat. As a homemaker for the birds and as an animate entity drawing from nutrients of the earth and decarbonizing the atmospheric air, trees are indeed nature’s marvel. As Joyce Kilmer rhapsodized in the beginning of the last century, “I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree…. / …Poems are made by fools like me, / But only God can make a tree.” Can there be a better statement for its conservation?

  • Teresa says:

    Great angles of trees.

  • soniadogra says:

    For me, trees are symbolic of slowness. I find their no-hurry quality pulling me in every time. Such a contrast to the rush we are in.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Yes, the unhurried stillness of trees. They calm me right down.

  • literarylad says:

    Sadly, the streets of Britain have been a battleground with regard to street trees over the last few years, with more and more being felled. One city council removed hundreds of mature trees, despite protests, claiming they were diseased, and therefore dangerous (they weren’t). Those that remain get cut back severely. Councils are afraid of litigation from people tripping over roots, being injured by falling branches, or roots disturbing building foundations. Meanwhile, air pollution, which trees help to control, gets worse. For a tree lover like me, it’s heart-breaking.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Graham, that sounds like Indian cities. Heartbreaking, indeed.

  • Archana says:

    I am so happy that the city allows you to reconnect with trees! While knowing their species is like knowing a friends name.. i have accepted that its ok to occasionally not know a tree’s identity. Enjoyed reading your post!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I’m terrible with names, even with human friends. I agree though that I should know what species they are.

  • Trees for me are the silent witnesses to many things and sometimes I feel they have a lot of secret to share provided we understood their silence. Your thoughts echo with me.

  • I suppose you’ve done the Macritchie lake walk many times. I lived just opposite at 800 Thomson Road. Monkeys can be very annoying and even dangerous. Trees are the lifeblood of the planet as they convert what we produce in byproduct gasses into pure oxygen so I love to walk among trees and breathe deeply of that pure air. Walking in the jungles of Malaysia seem to have a higher humidity to me than Singapore. Just a feeling I suppose.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Yes, I’ve done the Macritchie walk, and am familiar with the monkeys you speak of–I keep my distance when calling cabs from there! Malaysia has bigger virgin jungles, and yes, they seem more humid to me, too.

  • Alana says:

    I live in a climate with long, harsh winters but our trees are well adapted to the climate. Right now many of our trees are preparing to drop leaves and go into a type of hibernation.

  • vishnupria says:

    I remember now during my school days there used to be trees surrounded within the premises including the ponds. It gives me nostalgic moments when I doze off from its breeze. Also, my relative had a huge tree in their backyard where I used the rope to swing. Thank you for bringing the memories back. 😌

  • JT Twissel says:

    I’m in the coastal hills and so we have pine trees, redwoods and valley oaks. I love them all but there’s something heavenly about a redwood.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      A redwood is like a place of worship, from photos and videos. I hope to touch one some day. Thanks for visiting, Jan.

  • Huw Boyt says:

    Love these words and sentiments Damyanti. Feels like trees have shepherded me through my life, constant watchful companions even though my years of city life used to obscure them. For me they are like landmarks through the years if I look for them:
    *the purple blooming Jacaranda trees in our garden in Harare where we spent many baby hours sleeping and watching entranced from our prams,
    *my first real kiss in a mango tree in the same city,
    *the cathedral vaults of the pine plantations at boarding school where we used to bunk out at night for a smoke,
    *the palm trees on the Mozambique coast where we used to holiday that made a noise like rain when the wind blew at night as we slept under them,
    *The Oaks, Sycamores and Chestnut trees of the parks and streets in Sheffield that I use to walk to university and back (guiding my sometimes drunken way home) etc, etc..

    And now in Northamptonshire, in our garden we have a massive Eucalyptus tree, 60/70 feet tall that seems to watch over us as it bends and rustles in the wind and hums with bees in the late summer, a stocky crab apple tree shelters the ashes of our deeply loved dog Alfie and a couple of cherry trees colour our garden in the spring and autumn, pear and apple trees give us fruit and a contorted hazel my partner Jane bought for memoir my birthday in 2000 which came with us up from London in a pot and is thriving and now rules it’s own corner of the garden.

    I do not know if you have read Robert Macfarlane’s book Underland (not a fantasy – but a bewitching travelogue of things (mostly human social and historical) that happen underground. Chapter 4 “The Understory (Epping Forest, London) it is a wonderful explanation and exploration of the reality and implications of the mycorrhizal network that connects trees. He writes so well and this chapter catapulted my appreciation of forests, trees and fungi so that I too have returned to touching and hugging and yes sadly, quietly when no-one is looking. Thank you for helping me to think again about this.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thank you for this long and lyrical post! I haven’t read Underland, but it goes to the top of my TBR list now.

      Hugs from a fellow tree-hugger.

  • I have always been a tree hugger. Literally and figuratively.

  • Patting a tree is fine!
    I like the many trees in our yard. It creates an oasis.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Alex, you’re so fortunate to have a yard with trees! I do pat the plants in my garden, but patting trees in public won’t win me any friends around here. I do it on the sly, though.

  • Great pics. Made me realize that most of the pictures I take while hiking are of trees…have always loved them, for so many reasons. The scents of fresh pine and cedar, the delicate needles of a hemlock, and my personal favorite, the paper birch, with its gently curling bark. The smells of a forest are better than any antidepressants!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      You made me long for the pine forests, and their scent and in the places I’ve visited at least, the song of crickets. It feels like being in paradise.

  • I love trees. I used to climb them when I was a kid. It was so calming to sit on a branch and observe. In the city, I lived near a botanical garden that I would visit almost every week. There were some wonderful trees there (no climbing allowed πŸ™‚ )

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I live far from our botanical garden, but I try and vsit as often as I ca. Not often enough, though.

  • Everything

  • John Hric says:

    We have a black walnut tree here in the yard. This year the crop of walnuts is overwhelming. Lots of walnuts have been falling. The squirrels are having a feast. The bounty is nearly spent now. For the last two weeks the walnuts have been raining from the tree and bouncing off the pavilion under the tree. Drumming on the roof. Trees are magnificent towering beings. Silent and branching. They are incredible swaying and sometimes snapping in the storm and winds. Roots clutching the ground and their branches reaching into the sky.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for such a lovely long comment, John. Only someone with the heart of a gardener and a tree-lover would say such things. I love the bit about the walnuts, and the feast for squirrels! How utterly delightful.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I’ve lived in a forest for years, and I never grow tired of my view or of walking in the woods. There’s something very special about these sturdy giants. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Lee, living in a forest is my dream. maybe it shall come true some day. Our bodies are meant to live in forests, not concrete jungles.

  • I have always been surrounded by trees. They fill the view from my writing office. My sister lives at the front of a forest (well, her house does). There is something comforting about their timeless stalwartness.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Oh there is, and how I envy you, Jacqui. My writing office overlooks a busy road and a shopping mall. I do see trees, because Singapore is pretty green, but to be surrounded by trees is a blessing.