Skip to main content

Full text of "I And Thou"

See other formats

I consider a tree.
I can look on it as a picture : stiff column in a shock
of light, or splash, of green skot with the delicate blue
and silver of the background.           '         • \
I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on
clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing
of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air—
and the obscure growth itself.
I can classify it in a species and study it as a type
in its structure and mode of life.
I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly
that I recognise it only as an expression of law—of
the laws in accordance^ with which a constant opposition
of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accord-
ance with which the component substances mingle and
I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in
pure numerical relation.
In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space
and time, and has its nature and constitution.
It can, however, also come about, if I have both will
and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound
up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer It. I
have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.
To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up
any of the ways in which I consider the tree. There is
nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away
in order to see, and no knowledge that I would have
to forget. Kather is everything, picture and movement,
species and type, law and number, indivisibly united
in this event.
Everything belonging to the tree is in this : its form