These pieces of Thumbnail Nature writing are the output from a workshop I led at Epsom Library on 3 December 2022 alongside the Remarkable Trees Exhibition. During the workshop we made the acquaintance of an Ash-leaved Maple and underneath its leafless branches I read from Thomas Hardy, Suzanne Simard, Roger Deakin and J.R. Tolkien (the latter for some Ent-ish philosophy) to help us get beneath the bark. Enjoy!

The lovely tree heading photo was taken by Soo-min Lee. Others are mine.

Amanda Tuke – Writer and workshop leader: nature, people, places


What do you see?

The wind you are looking for is right here. 

It’s in green, yellow and brown. 

Sudden turns of the mood,

Have no fear, just listen to the beat. 

Tears, silent sobbing, no need to hide now. 

Only the autumn confetti left on the path.

Soo-min Lee


I reached out to touch the tree and…

It spoke to me

“How wonderful to see you here, 

Stay with me, have no fear

Why don’t you tell me all your woes

Let’s see where conversation goes

Use my low branch for a chair

There is much we could share.”

Sharie Dakota


I am finally taking time to live life in all its fullness. Beech trees in the early November sunshine: towering cathedrals of colour fanning flames into a kingfisher sky. Orange, ochre, umber; less a burnt offering than an everlasting light. Shamefully lapsed, I am nonetheless swept up, embraced and ignited.

Rachel Hill


Tree of Life

Searing light split through my heart, my branch ripped smoking from my trunk. Charring saps my strength, but I will mend. Cauterised, my wounds heal clean, lichen softly padding splintered scars. A nesting home waits ready in my core. Lightning won’t strike twice where new life sparks.

Kate Randerson


So tired, my blossoms bloomed, the pollen dispersed, my seeds have dropped, my leaves have fallen, my work is done and rest beckons through the cold times. Winter peace for all that shelter under my bark, in my cavities, and between my roots.

Fresh beginnings await.

Heidi Darley



Sun gives light each day

Sky’s shiny blue, so beautiful

Oceans are big and frightful

Stars glitter at nights.

Valleys are really too deep

Trees’re very tall, lushly green

Flowers are really colourful

Creatures have soul and spirit

Many wonders around you!


Dr C K Krishnaswamy


Leaning against the trunk, palms flat, caressing the rough bark.

Cheeks warming as sunshine filters through the unfurling spring leaves.

I sink into the heart of the tree, feeling its lifeforce entwining with mine.

If this tree could talk, what would it tell me?

Eyes closed, I focus and listen.

Janet Hinton


Look at me! Tree prisoner in a flower bed but still free to reach up to the sky.  Alone but not alone.  I have my admirers you know when dressed in my autumn gown.  And the birds that rest in my arms twitter and tweet the secrets of the day.

Patricia Brookwick


Twisted hazel,

magic wand branches interweaving, 

crazy, nuts,

plundered by squirrels.

Blue tit haven,

a squirrel’s leap from the feeder.

Companion to the Hornbeam hedge

where magpies perch  

loudly proclaiming

cat alert.

Cats climb watchful, resentful, 

ever hopeful.

There, tree creepers

and winter wren

in the entwining ivy.

My garden.

Frances Touch


If this tree could talk…

The winds have shaped me

I’m projecting warmth

Procrastinating, investigating 

Zig-Zagging through earth

I’m watching, waiting, inviting rain

I’m shedding losing leaves

Hosting an army of little beasts

I’m pruned, losing limbs 

Then growing, replacing, rejuvenating 


I’m an organic statue, yet always re-shaping.

Sharie Dakota


I approach the tree.

A fire-tipped dart of doubt: for me – old-school – hands-on-learning;

for them – more ‘C.G.I.’ and ‘V.R.’ – boredom and ensuing carnage?

Look! An ant highway!

Let me see!

A murmuration among my wingless fledglings; all paper and crayons.

My hand meets bark.

I am re-rooted.

Rachel Hill