… Transit Alexander: A Round - Image Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
We will now rebuild the tree. The tree I have in mind will take thousands of trees and many years to build. I have a photograph before me of the Long Room of the library at Trinity College, Dublin, completed in 1732. The ceiling is a curved vault of candle-fumed wood. The floor is a plane of honey. The photograph shows a receding corridor on each side of which rise arched alcoves. Within the alcoves are shelves, from floor to ceiling. On the shelves are books bound in leathers of every hue, all brown. There are wooden banisters, benches, pilasters. The only appurtenances that are not brown are white marble busts of philosophers, poets, playwrights.
The room is massively silent. It ruminates upon a thousand forests and a thousand cities and personages, revolutions and plagues, ships lost and continents discovered. Sentences, formulae, drawings—knowledge is the sap of this tree. The tree is alive though all the philosophers represented by all the busts are dead.
The room will speak if questioned.