Zarathustra Speaks to the Trees

Yesterday, I took a hike in the woods with some philosophically minded friends. I wrote something for the occasion, in the spirit of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Zarathustra Speaks to the Trees

Were you born into the chaos of death: darkness your first sight, the crunch of mandible on exoskeleton your first sound, the drip of decaying flesh your first taste? During those long weeks amidst the corpses, did you doubt that you would ever breathe clean air, that you would ever reach the sun? Yet at last you have. Now you live in three worlds: the world of sun, the world of the air, but do not forget the world of earth. Make friends with her although she is your dark past, for all your nourishment is from her.

On the contrary, you lament, you are in prison, with Earth your shackle and Nature your jailer. Every band you add to your strength only adds to your despair as it tightens your bonds. You count yourself more wretched even than the orb-weaver who, though doomed to destroy her house every time she consumes a meal, can at least choose where to spin her web. I say to you: Those of whom you are jealous run to the east and scamper to the west; do you not know that your life is height, depth and time? Every morning, you are the first to see the sun; at midnight you drink while others sleep; and you shall outlast them all. Live the life that is yours and be grateful for it!

Do you dread your death in winter, when your blood will freeze and the weight of ice will snap your brittle limbs? When the sun will grow weak and distant just as you need it most? When you shall stand naked, having lost your last leaf, certain that on the morrow life itself will slip away? Do not fear; this is a false death, and true life will follow it. Every death save one is false, but every life is true.

You have also heard tales of an all-consuming fire before which all of your kind are helpless. You live in dread because you know you cannot flee the inferno that may engulf you this year, or the next, or the next. Oh, how you wish that you could run like the fox! It is true that many of your brothers have perished in flame, and many of your sisters bear its scars, but you are not as helpless as you think. Your ancestors have suffered in your place and have bequeathed to you a thick skin. The animals who run do so because they have not this gift. They are just as likely to die as you, but they while running in terror whereas you while standing firm. So resolve to make your stand!

Did I bring pain to your heart when I mentioned the animals? Do you weep while watching the courtship of every creature in the forest? Do you wish you could sing a song to your beloved and feel her touch? You do have a courtship-song, and it has been on the lips of every poet: it is the whisper of your leaves in the wind. Raise your boughs and cast your pollen! The wind will carry your song and bear your touch to the flower of your beloved. Your children will soon take root, some of them in grateful sight of you, and others in places you have not imagined from which a fresh wind will one day bring their stories.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

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