I received this fantastic book I was absolutely blown away by the
life-changing words. This is the thirtieth anniversary of this
wonderful nonfiction look at how the natural, “wild” world affects our
human lives. Mr. Fowles passed away in 2006, but his legacy of classic
stories including The Gift and, my favorite, The French Lieutenant’s Woman,
will remain part of our culture for the rest of time. But this small
yet, intricate, look at how this fantastic author “saw” life, and the
relationships that made up his own existence, should truly be a
permanent fixture on every human’s bookshelf.
about taking me home to my upbringing in the “hills” of Connecticut;
this author first speaks about the trees. Throughout history, trees
have provided many different things to different people; they’ve been
the sanctuary for some, as well as the hiding place for the “justly and
unjustly persecuted and hunted.” This is a powerful statement. Whether
living in a city or wild country, if the trees could speak, we can only
imagine what stories they could tell.
Fowles grew up in London – the huge city where activity was a constant.
His father was a man who had a small garden in the back of their flat,
and worked very hard at keeping his bushes, flowers, and trees alive.
Here was the place where John’s father would go and be one with nature.
John, unlike his father, wanted the “openness” of the countryside. He
wanted to go on “woodland walks” where a path would lead him into the
unknown. He even goes into a garden in the old Swedish university town
of Uppsala, where a beautiful garden resides that is equaled only by the
one spoken of in the Book of Genesis. But the one “chord” that kept
driving home with me was his father. His father had a deep love of
philosophy, and the trees that he cultivated by his own hand were what
made him truly happy.
When the war came, the
family had to move to the countryside which made John extremely happy
for the unknown, wide open spaces, but made his father completely
miserable. Gone were the “fruits” that he, himself, had brought to life
so the countryside for him was not a joy, but a hindrance. I am very
much like the author’s father. I lived a great deal in the open expanse
of the woodland hills, but I longed for the faster-pace of city living,
where a small tree languishing in the cement outside of an apartment
building was the only “green” nature to be seen for miles. As I grow
older and, certainly after reading the poignant words of this wonderful
author, I have moved to small dwellings and gone back to the beauty and
wonder that nature brings. In fact, when we’re all gone, the trees will
still be here; they will still be whispering stories and fantasies, and
clinging to the lives that have left the Earth. That is a powerful
thing to think about.
Now that this wonderful
author is gone, I can only imagine what the wind whistling through those
mighty trees that he discovered have to say about him. I’m very sure
that, like all the humans who read this man’s wonderful words, the trees
miss him and his truly beautiful soul.