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Be like a tree, humanitarian, community

Would you like to be  a tree?

I’ve been wondering about writing, life and fiction in the past few days.

Work-wise they have been tough. I’ve had to draw on the reserves of stillness within me, and let the ‘I’m a tree’ part take over.

Today I would like to ask you a question about the sort of person you see yourself as, or the sort of person you would like to be. I know I want to live like a tree, and I’m far away indeed from achieving it.

What about you? Would You live like a Tree?

If you have an opinion but don’t blog, please join the discussion on the Damyanti at Daily (w)rite Facebook Page!

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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  • I love the poem as the perfect description of the photo. I’m afraid I can’t take the summer heat the way a tree can, but I love quiet. I love the sound of wind in the leaves and the birds in the branches, and revel in those sounds on my photo walks among the trees.

  • rhondabreen says:

    Whenever I need to ground myself I visualize I’m a large old oak and I have roots that form a web around the earth. Here’s the odd thing….I saw my homeopath a week ago and explained how I’m having difficulty moving forward. He suggested a remedy that was a tree remedy….it was oak. Now how amazing was that?? Trees give us breath.

  • D.G.Kaye says:

    Lots to think about here. I don’t think I could live happily as a tree. I don’t think I really want roots, and don’t want to weather storms the rest of my life. I’d rather be a butterfly and fly freely when and where I choose. 🙂

  • helenheart says:

    I love trees. I remember, when my son was tiny, in the middle of a deep winter on an island in Maine, he said: im so happy there are evergreens to give us color all year round. It may be true that trees don’t speak, but they allow us to hear the wind. And I like to think they do speak. At least, I feel such comfort around trees, that I do feel they communicate.

  • Listening for some is the hardest. Living like a tree requires a lot of adapting and seems to be the hardest for most because they have to lear to compromise. Great post

  • macjam47 says:

    I see trees as a symbol of strength, longevity, protection, and beauty. But a tree can also bend when it needs to. Some are gnarled, and old. Some are young and straight. Much like us.

  • John Hric says:

    There are lots of things trees are good at and that we tend to anthropomorphise. then there are the things that we tend to ignore that would make them not look so nice, anthropomorphically speaking. like taking someone else’s light. that is how those forest giants get so big and the competition gets sparse. or chemical warfare with all of your neighbors, on a mostly underground level. it is kind of like those majestic birds. they are more just birds rather than majestic when you realize the survivors pushed the weaker siblings from the nest. well that is enough of that reality. to get back to strong tall trees what sort of storm are we trying to weather ? and yes i do like trees, especially when they help me find a way to weather a storm. there are too many real and metaphorical storms these days. too many.

  • I love the strength and stateliness and serenity of trees. Blissful solitude, though there are many. Sometimes I’d like to be one, with the wind in my hair and the life-giving sun shining down. But not always. Sometimes I need to wander and see what other wonders the world holds.

  • Being a tree is being rooted and being a support to those who come to you. I would love to be a tree. Sometimes I even think I am heading to that but then I pull myself thinking, changing is also equally important. Unless I re-root myself to another domain, thoughts, I would never learn. I know I’m sharing two opposite things but it matters to move as well to something new at times.

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, it is a tough call, between roots and change– that’s why a lot of the responders talk about being like water.

  • latawonders18 says:

    There is nothing more I’d like:)

  • rationalraj2000 says:

    The quote about the tree superb! What anyone should aspire to be!

  • aaronlfuller says:

    A few years ago I visited Quincy, Massachusetts to the John Adam and John Quincy Adams family homes. One home was paneled in the most incredible mahagony from Santo Domingo. I asked where I could get some and the guide said, “Oh that species is extinct.” I wouldn’t mind being there centuries ago and breathing, experiencing, and seeing what those titans of trees must have been like.

  • To give withou asking for anything in return. To withstand everything that life throws without complaining. To be rooted in a firm foundation and to listen without judgment. I like these qualities.

  • ccyager says:

    Yes, there are definitely advantages to living like a tree. I think most introverts are halfway there since we like to listen and observe more than be the life of the party. I like the notion of having deep roots and of giving shade unconditionally. Stand tall!

  • Jemima Pett says:

    Much as I love trees, I’m not one that has put down roots anywhere. Sometimes I wonder whether I should try harder to, but it’s just not me. I do tend to blow with the wind, though. Lovley post, Damyanti 🙂

  • I’d like to be like the free bird standing atop the tree:)

  • ctstanly says:

    While forgetting everything behind, tree grows, wishes to reach sun. Nothing expect from the past. Can anybody be like this?

  • subzeroricha says:

    It is such a huge coincidence that I have written something exactly same on my blog yesterday and there in I have compared my life with a tree!!

  • Ruth2Day says:

    I couldn’t live like a tree, but I do love them. The mass and the quiet serenity they project

  • You pose a good question

  • Birgit says:

    Oh gosh-I am so not a tree. I am more a magpie-chatting away and loving glittery shiny things. I just hope I am there for my family and friends plus do the best at my job by helping people. I do my best to listen, always give people empathy and dignity but never lie to just appease them. I will speak the truth because they deserve it.

  • I’m happy to be a person. Humans have power to reason and move around to do good or evil. I choose good. The key is power of choice and that’s something a tree doesn’t have. What if it doesn’t like its location or the fact its tied to a place without travelling this beautiful world? It does have power to draw moisture and sunshine and create beauty, but its programmed to do that and has no choice to look for potentially better ways to benefit. With all our human limitations I choose to be what I am.

  • Chris Tryon says:

    Trees can live together and have their roots intertwined that way they can give strength and support to one another. Good analogy my friend!

  • I have to tell you a story about a woman who wanted to be a tree. She had been sold into the sex trade as a five year old girl, and lived that hell, until she ran away at the age of fifteen. She loved people, but feared them more than anything. Her wish? To die and become a tree. There is power in being a tree, but much is lost when we stand and let time slip by. Would you mind if I tagged this post and wrote my own blog post in reply to this piece and being a tree? There is so much I’d like to share and not enough time.

  • In the summer yes. Full of colour, food for insects, shade for animals. But in the autumn, seeing my leaves & seeds fall away. Winter. Apparently dead. But in the spring, in the spring, the spring…

    • Damyanti says:

      Oh yes, Simon, trees in spring— to be so glorious, with blossoms, light. But the test comes in the winter storms, and those are the one a tree weathers in order to temper, grow strong.

  • What a beautiful poem and comparison to life. I live near redwoods in San Francisco area and am always struck by the calmness that radiates from the giants.

  • Chris says:

    Live like a tree–yes, I’d love to. Or like water.

    • Damyanti says:

      Oh, like water, yes. To cut through rocks, to reduce them to sand, to be an escape artist, to fly in air as clouds, to hibernate as snow and ice, to be breathed in by fish, to meet the parched earth in rain. Yes, I’d like that very much, too.

  • no. monkey want instead live in a tree. except in great state california.

  • Autumn says:

    I have this fortune from a fortune cookie taped to the wall right by my computer monitor, “Be calm, like a giant tree in a storm.” I loved that! Trees might get their branches broken, leaves lost, all blown around but they hang on when the storm comes. I would say I would like to be like a tree (not quite there yet!), holding on, growing back pieces that were destroyed, and I guess always growing.

  • lemongrass says:

    Few years back when i was returning home with a heavy heart … I remember wanting to be anything but human. I still recall how I kept wishing i was a tree, but then I thought about people cutting them and how trees cant defend themselves, i thought of being the sky but then how polluted it is, of being the earth, but that is again stamped by millions of people and disrespected each day. I thought of becoming an insect like a moth, and then i remembered how they die jumping into fire.
    In the end, I realised i was happy being myself. :’)

  • I’d be more like a bamboo…bendy but can’t be bent, swayed by the breeze but still firm…relaxed and flowing with it, allowing and in complete non-resistance. Do

  • toyra99 says:

    Although you point out many of the best qualities of being a tree, and I strive to possess and keep many of those traits, I need to see different sights. I need to be among different people. I need many various excitements and activities so I definitely could not be a tree.

    • Damyanti says:

      To each ones own– I seem to have had too much of excitement and activity, and crave only stillness these days.

  • Keigh Ahr says:

    Sadly, this metaphor doesn’t work for me. It’s not that I don’t love trees — I’ve got plenty in both front and back of my house, including a pair nurtured from saplings. Trees are vital to life, the lungs of the world.

    But they’re also sedentary. Yes, they grow tall, dig roots into the deep earth, spread their broad limbs. But they don’t move. And my personality is too kinetic to find that appealing.

    • Damyanti says:

      Keigh, each of us is a different manifestation. To be rooted is not for everyone– the world is not made of trees alone, and I don’t think that is unfortunate at all.

  • pres68 says:

    I wrote a poem a year ago, its called Tree. If you would like to read it. P.S Not Blossom Tree poem.

  • sorry…I continuously hit the “wrong” button thus my replies get all mixed up sigh. A tree would never do this! But the sentence above should read: therefore, they alone were in touch with heaven and earth.

  • Great post! In a number of ancient cultures, trees were considered sacred because they were rooted in the earth and drew their sustenance from deep, hidden resources while their branches soared into the heavens and their they were in touch with divine spirits of heaven; therefore they alone were in Science has done much to rob us of this great mythic vision, but your post, and others like it, strike such a wondrous chord in that harmony of spirit that we all share, thus reminding us that we are indeed a part of a vast nurturing system that can do without us, but we can do without it.

  • I love trees and appreciate all they give to us. We have some spectacular trees in California that are thousands of years old. I love to look at trees and admire them. I like to walk among trees and enjoy all the wonderful scents of the trees, the leaves and acorns under my feet.

    • Damyanti says:

      Some day, some day. I’ll visit those trees and try to breathe in the air they’ve breathed out. You’re so fortunate to have such easy access to them– they’re on my bucket list.

  • Anita Kushwaha says:

    Lovely poem, Damyanti! We have a lot in common. I have wanted to be a tree for as long as I can remember, and if not, living in one. 😉 I got to visit the Redwoods near San Francisco a couple of years ago and I think of them often, especially when I feel uprooted. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Damyanti says:

      Anita, I didn’t think of it as a poem– it was in fact a Facebook update. But lately I’ve been practicing Taiji and Qigong, and that gives me the longing for throwing down roots, like a tree. I hope to visit those trees you speak of– Muir woods?

      • Anita Kushwaha says:

        Oh my mistake! It was lovely in any case. 🙂 Yes, the trees were in Muir woods. Definitely worth a visit. I can’t wait to go back.

  • I like the idea. Stillness, silence, generosity without judgment, without intention besides that of your own existence. Yes. But I have problems with the rooted part. I’m a soul that needs the freedom of the moment, not the steadiness of eternity. So, for me, I’ve discovered that it’s not as a tree that I need to live, but as a dog. Always in the moment, no grudges, a sense of awe and enthusiasm at life and everything in it, of acceptance. Walking with my dogs along a forest trail, or watching them cavort along the shoreline, gives me the deepest sense of peace I’ve known. I can hope that living with them will get some of their awesomeness to rub off on me 😉

    • Damyanti says:

      Dogs are the best teachers. Unconditional love, loyalty, surrender and living in the moment– if each human had the qualities of a dog, this world would be a much better place!

  • miladyronel says:

    Thought provoking. Sometimes being a tree means quietly watching, waiting and even holding back blasts of withering wind so those who depend on you can thrive.
    On Woes, the platform I use for my Afrikaans writing, the theme for the previous two weeks’ writing competition just happened to be trees. It was a lot of fun to write about.
    Keep up the good work – it’s always inspiring to read your posts.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you so much, and your comment is equally inspiring– what a lovely coincidence that you’ve been writing about trees!

  • I love to live between the trees; I don’t think I would make a good tree. (:

  • Arcane Owl says:

    Well described !! I would like to live like myself because I believe that to be more important and necessary.

  • wallcat says:

    It sounds nice being a tree.

  • shoreacres says:

    Speaking only for myself, I’d prefer to be a human being, and write about trees.

  • noblethemes says:

    Wonderful message and probing question. How “coincidental” that just last night I read about trees on another wonderful blog! This must be something upon which I need to carefully meditate.

  • They say a wise man listens…

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, listens, and does not speak. Which is why I’m trying to make my posts shorter now, so the comment thread can have all my attention. 🙂

  • Tinesh Rajah says:

    Funny that you should talk about trees. How very apt. I was actually planning to grow my own bonsai tree. Did some research on it, well YouTube mostly anyway and I thought that apart from helping me build a sort of discipline to care for it, it would also serve to remind me that however small it may be, it’s value doesn’t diminish. In fact, in my book, I would say it is more valuable than any other tree in the world. Because it’s something that I cared for and watched as it slowly grows and ages. I may be embellishing this a little bit, but I think trees are silent, stoic guardians. Without trees (and other floras of course), the entire ecosystem wouldn’t hold. Having said that, life on Earth wouldn’t be possible without them. I think I won’t be exaggerating if I said that none of us can exist today if not for the trees. 😉

    • Damyanti says:

      I have seen Bonsai in Japan, they look like miniature behemoths– I don’t know if I would like to snipped and shaped inside a pot if my nature and my seed is to be an immense trunk, wide branches, whispering leaves.

  • We all do want to be that way. Not caring about the unnecessary sounds and surroundings. But unlike the tree, we have to try harder.

  • Very thought-provoking & poetic post! There are times when I do see myself as a tree in a world full of other mighty trees. But like you, there are also times when I see myself as a little seedling that still has a whole lot more growing to do. But I think that’s okay because since we all are imperfect, we always have some growing to do in one area or another. Thanks for sharing this lovely post! 🙂

  • lkwatts67 says:

    I once helped organize a poetry walk at a performing art center (Artpark in Lewiston, NY). My own contribution was a poem called Treedom, which reflected on how the roots form a network in the earth while the limbs form a network reaching to the heavens so that we are all interconnected through Treedom. For the potery walk, people walked up a woodsy trail. There wwere poems posted on tyrees along the way and people stopped at various stations along the trail where poets were stationed who would read a poem and then join the group to continue the trek. At the top of the trail, Anya Foos (who used to write and teach poetry at Cornell University) was standing with her back against a tree. She stepped forth when we arrived and issued an impromptu poem AS the tree! It was magnificent.

  • sfarnell says:

    I thought along this line a year ago. I was writing a post but ditched it because I didn’t like it. Your life has to adapt so sometimes you need to be a tree and stand firm. But the tree also bends and adapts with the wind and sheds those broken branches it doesn’t need. Which bit do you need to be at the time depends.