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Thoreau and the Language of Trees$
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Richard Higgins and Robert D. Richardson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294042

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294042.001.0001

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A Soul for Trees

A Soul for Trees

(p.94) (p.95) 5 A Soul for Trees
Thoreau and the Language of Trees

Richard Higgins

Richard Higgins

University of California Press

Trees helped Thoreau express his deeply religious nature. They were his spiritual guides and companions to his soul. This is true despite Thoreau’s withering criticism of formal religion. He searched for a truer religion in nature. Trees were “shrines” and “burning bushes” that disclosed the divinity in nature to him. Thoreau accepted this as a mystery. Trees knew things he would never know. “Their secret is where you are not and where your feet can never carry you.” They also symbolized an immortality to Thoreau. A tall white pine in Maine was “as immortal as I am, and perchance will go to as high a heaven, there to tower above me still.”

Keywords:   heaven, religious, spirit, soul, churches, shrines, burning bushes, disclosed, divine divinity, mystery, immortal, immortality, spires

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