Sentinels and Sanctuaries

Ta Prohm temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Trees are Sentinels
Guarding, Nurturing, Protecting
Bastions of Dignity

Breathing life
Providing shelter
Asking for nothing
Sacrificing everything
– K. Earle

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Trees are sanctuaries.
Whoever knows how to speak to them,
whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.
They do not preach learning and precepts,
they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
– Hermann Hesse, Wandering

Shalimar Gardens, Srinagar, Kashmir
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.
Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary
than a beautiful, strong tree. 

– H. Hesse, ibid

Sahel, Mali

If you would know strength and patience,
welcome the company of trees.  
– Hal Borland

Moscow, Russia
Ta Prohm Wat, Angkor, Cambodia
Darjeeling, India

Trees, proud standing people
stretching fingertips to the sky, reaching, praying
glorious attention, breathing light.
strength shelter timeless confidence
bending and firm comforting …
–  Wallace Stevens 

New York City, New York, USA
The Sahel, Africa

Planting trees early in spring,
we make a place for birds to sing in time to come.
How do we know? They are singing here now.
There is no other guarantee that singing will ever be.
– Wendell Berry

Songnisan National Park, Korea

No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples…
– John Muir

Omo Valley, Ethiopia

I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Deep South, USA
Georgia, USA

I never saw a discontented tree.
They grip the ground as though they liked it, and
though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.
They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind,
going and coming like ourselves,
traveling with us around the
sun two million miles a day,
and through space heaven knows how
fast and far!
–  John Muir

Rajasthan, India

By Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than thirty years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

To read more about Steve go to

39 replies on “Sentinels and Sanctuaries”

I have just found your blog, although I have loved your images for decades. I draw and paint. How can I legally and respectfully use one or more of your photos as the basis for watercolor and ink painting?

Steve, your photos are always wonderful. But every so often, they surpass wonderful. They surpass amazing. They surpass breathtaking. I am referring to the photo from Thailand of the mahout asleep in the tree with his elephant standing guard. That one stopped me in my tracks. Sheer genius. Thank you for it, and thank you for the pleasure you bring with your photographs. James.

Magnificent set of images, as always! Fabulous eye to be able to tie these photos together as a global study of humans and trees. I adore the Chiang Mai elephant shot. So much emotion going on between the person, elephant and tree.

Thank you for the gift…for bringing me back to myself with your reminder.. trees have been my anchor always and now I sit and contemplate my life and their presence in it.🌱🍃🍂🍁

Trees are such an important piece of our planet, and also one of the most ignored. The picture of the elephant and the boy will stick with me for a long time.

Most beautiful set of images and wonderful quotations, especially by Herman Hesse, They are all beautiful but for me the two which stand out are of the one of the boy on the tree and the elephant and also the one of the mother and daughter on the swing and the man with the cows.Thank you Stebebhai for these outstanding images

We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves, not the breeze of a morning that flutters the leaves, but its own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots. Jiddu Krishnamurti

Sometimes these beautiful pictures and readings come at the right time.
They allow me to relax and enjoy the unusual pictures taken of trees from around the world. Thank you for sending me this reminder of the tranquility of nature Mansukh,
You are often in our thoughts and Prayers.

Wonderful, as ever!
The Austrian artist and architect Hundertwasser dreamed of buildings with trees growing in them. These ‘tree tenants’ would pay their rent by providing clean air and improving our environment. What a lovely idea.

Yes……”I think that I shall never see….”
Your images are wonderful…..thank you. Quite amazing!

Beautiful pictures and poem ! I love tree since my childhood (enfance) they are really precious to me.!!! Thanks you for sharing that wonderful post. I will reblog !

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