This elegant collection of Hermann Hesse’s essays, poems, and passages on trees, accompanied by thirty-two of his hand-painted watercolor illustrations, reveals his sacred understanding of trees as symbols of transcendence and rebirth, of instinctive growth present in all natural life.

It is published by Kales Press, selected by Volker Michels* and translated from the German by Damion Searls**.

Trees mirrors landscapes as Hesse experienced them, both artistically and spiritually, and reminds us that the life of a tree is also a metaphor for our own life of perseverance, happiness, and purpose. In the author’s words:

“They struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws . . . Whoever has learned to listen to trees no longer wants to be one. He wants to be nothing except who he is.”


Hesse, H. (2022) Trees: An anthology of writings and paintings. San Diego, California: Kales Press.

*Volker Michels, the world’s foremost authority on Hermann Hesse’s work, manages the Nobel laureate’s literary and artistic estate.

**Damion Searls (personal website) is the translator of more than fifty books, including Hermann Hesse’s Demian, and the recipient of numerous awards.

Picture above is part of Hermann Hesse, Early Spring, 1925.


The Day Hermann Hesse Discovered the Meaning of Life in a Tree