When the Trees Say Nothing
This first collection of Thomas Merton's nature writings reveals the beloved spiritual master as an environmentalist ahead of his time. A primer on eco-spirituality, this important book is skillfully edited by Kathleen Deignan, Ph.D., with a foreword by Thomas Berry...
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This first collection of Thomas Merton's nature writings reveals the beloved spiritual master as an environmentalist ahead of his time. A primer on eco-spirituality, this important book is skillfully edited by Kathleen Deignan, Ph.D., with a foreword by Thomas Berry and art by John Giuliani. "Merton would be thrilled with this book."--Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB
The first collection of Merton's writings on nature. Over 300 of his nature writings are grouped into thematic sections on the seasons, elements, creatures, and other topics. These writings serve as a primer on eco-spirituality, revealing Merton's approach to ecology as a spiritual issue that exposes the degree of human alienation from the sacredness of the planet.
Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death.
His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.
Kathleen Deignan, an educator, theologian, composer, and performer, is a professor of religious studies at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, where she founded and continues to lead the Iona Spirituality Institute. She has written numerous articles on the legacy of Thomas Merton. She lives in New Rochelle, New York.