All our motives architectural and musical, all our harmonies of color and light, and so on, are directly taken from nature. Without evoking the sea, the mountain, the skies, the night, the twilights, what not could you say, for example, about the beauty of trees? I speak not only of the tree considered in the forest, which is one of the Earth's forces, perhaps the main source of our instincts, of our feeling of the universe, but of the tree itself, of the solitary tree, whose green oldness is loaded of a thousand stations. Between these impressions that, without our knowing it, form the limpid and perhaps the background of happiness and calm of our whole existence, who among us does not keep memory of some beautiful trees? When one has spent half of one's life, when one arrives at the end of the marvellous period, when almost all the spectacles that can be found in the world have been exhausted to offer the art, genius and luxury of the centuries and of men, after having experimented and compared to many things, it becomes very simple memories. These raise in the purified horizon two or three innocent images, invariable and fresh, that we would like to take with us in the last dream, if it is truth that an image can cross the threshold that separates our two worlds. I do not imagine paradise, nor life beyond the grave, however splendid it may be, that they were not in such a magnificent place beech from Sainte Baume, such a cypress or such a parasoled pine from Florence or from a humble neighbouring hermitage of my house, that offer to the passer-by the model of all the great movements of resistance necessary, of calm courage, of thrust, of gravity, of silent victory and of perseverance.

Maurice Maeterlinck

The intelligence of flowers

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