Empathy Nature and Values: Empathy

Ironically, so much of American ideology about the human relationship with the environment encourages individuals to see humanity as working to dominate nature. American ideology conceptualizes Americans as solitary, rugged individualists, fighting the forces of the earth. This poem suggests achieving oneness with nature is more desirable and fulfilling. People must begin to feel a greater a commonality with things not like us, such as the trees, to preserve the environment for the next generation. Only by finding such a sense of commonality with the natural world, with both the trees and with other unlike people can any individual feel whole and integrated with the larger world.

Through telling and hearing stories, we understand the perspective of other people. This is another reason why the speaker of the poem longs to speak in the forgotten language of the trees — the trees have stories, voices now unheard today. The trees speak in a collective voice that has been lost, and although the speaker has not recovered their language, through yearning to recover their wisdom, he at least acknowledges his or her own incompleteness, and need.

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