‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ is a novel by Thomas Hardy set in rural Wessex.   It’s essentially a love story, but I especially like the opening words of the first chapter.

Beech Trees in Winter 2

“To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature.  At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock;  the holly whistles as it battles with itself;  the ash hisses amid its quiverings;  the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall.  And winter, which modifies the note of such trees as shed their leaves, does not destroy its individuality.”

Chapter 1, ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ by Thomas Hardy

Photo © Jo Woolf