The Baron in the Trees

The Baron in the Trees

by

Italo Calvino

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Ombrosa’s Native Trees Symbol Icon

The trees Cosimo lives in symbolize the specific connections that Cosimo forms with the rest of the world, and more generally, the Age of Enlightenment as a whole. Cosimo moves through the trees around Ombrosa, spreading his Enlightenment-inspired ideas and his focus on coming together as a community, in much the same way that books and pamphlets circulated throughout the Western world and connected people during the Enlightenment. Biagio notes that in the years after Cosimo’s death, the native trees that Cosimo lived in were cut down and replaced with exotic trees from all over the world. The destruction of the old ones mirrors the end of the Enlightenment era’s connectedness and free-flowing ideas.

Ombrosa’s Native Trees Quotes in The Baron in the Trees

The The Baron in the Trees quotes below all refer to the symbol of Ombrosa’s Native Trees. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner edition of The Baron in the Trees published in 2017.
Chapter 3 Quotes

From the window I strained my ears to that irregular breath and tried to imagine how it would sound, without the familiar womb of the house, to someone who was just a few yards away but completely entrusted to it, with only the night around him, the only friendly object to which he could cling the trunk of a tree with its rough bark traveled by tiny endless tunnels in which the larvae slept.

Related Characters: Biagio Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 6 Quotes

Cosimo’s first days in the trees had no goals or plans but were dominated only by the desire to know and possess that kingdom of his. He would have liked to explore it immediately to its furthest boundaries, study all the possibilities it offered, discover it tree by tree and branch by branch.

Related Characters: Biagio Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

That need to enter an element difficult to possess which had driven my brother to make his the ways of the trees was now working in him again, unsatisfied, and communicated to him the desire for a more detailed penetration, a relationship that would bind him to every leaf and scale and feather and flutter. It was the love that man the hunter has for what is alive but doesn’t know how to express except by aiming the gun; Cosimo couldn’t yet recognize it and tried to let it out by intensifying his exploration.

Related Characters: Biagio Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 8 Quotes

“Rebellion is not measured in yards,” he said. “Even when it seems just a few handbreadths, a journey may have no return.”

Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

But I couldn’t always escape to join him in he woods. Lessons with the abbé, studying, serving Mass, meals with our parents kept me back: the hundreds of duties of family life to which I submitted, because in essence the sentence that I heard constantly repeated—“One rebel in a family is enough”—wasn’t unreasonable, and left its imprint on my entire life.

Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 13 Quotes

Thus by his art he helped to make nature in Ombrosa, which he had always found so benign, increasingly favorable to him, friend at once of his neighbor, of nature, and of himself. And in old age especially he enjoyed the advantages of this wise way of working, when the shape of the trees increasingly made up for his loss of strength.

Related Characters: Biagio Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 142-43
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 18 Quotes

And there, with naive youthful fervor, he explained the ideas of the philosophers and the wrongs of sovereigns and how states could be governed according to reason and justice.

Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 1887
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

He saw her: she was circling the pool, the little gazebo, the amphoras. She looked at the trees that had grown enormous, with hanging aerial roots, the magnolias that had become a forest. But she didn’t see him, he who sought to call her with the cooing of the hoopoe, the trill of the pipit, with sounds that were lost in the dense warbling of the birds in the garden.

Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 23 Quotes

“You reason too much. Why in the world should love be reasoned?”

“To love you more. Everything increases its power if you do it by reasoning.”

“You live in the trees and you have the mentality of a lawyer with gout.”

“The boldest enterprises should be experienced with the simplest heart.”

He continued to spout opinions until she ran away; then he, following her, despairing, tearing his hair.

Related Characters: Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Viola d’Ondariva/Sinforosa (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 28 Quotes

And to say that Cosimo in that time had written and distributed a Plan of a Constitution for a Republican City with Declaration of the Rights of Men, Women, Children, Domestic and Wild Animals, Including Birds, Fish, and Insects, and of Plants Both Forest Trees and Vegetables and Grasses. It was a beautiful work, which could serve as a guide for all who govern; instead no one took it under consideration, and it remained a dead letter.

Related Characters: Biagio Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Related Symbols: Ombrosa’s Native Trees
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 30 Quotes

Then, the vegetation has changed: no more the holm oaks, the elms, the oaks; now Africa, Australia, the Americas, the Indies extend branches and roots here. The ancient trees have retreated upward: on top of the hills the olives, and in the mountain woods pines and chestnuts; down on the coast it’s an Australian red with eucalyptus, elephantine with ficus, enormous and solitary garden plants, and all the rest is palms, with their disheveled tufts, inhospitable desert trees.

Related Characters: Biagio Piovasco di Rondò (speaker), Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Ombrosa’s Native Trees Symbol Timeline in The Baron in the Trees

The timeline below shows where the symbol Ombrosa’s Native Trees appears in The Baron in the Trees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
As children, Cosimo and Biagio climb trees, explore the countryside, and slide down the banisters. Cosimo begins to clash with their parents... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
...disappoints Cosimo, so Cosimo grabs his hat and sword and climbs up into the holm oak in the garden. Biagio isn’t surprised, as they climb the oak often and it’s conveniently... (full context)
Chapter 2
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Cosimo already enjoys what he can see from the oak. The Generalessa and Baron Arminio come into the garden and make a show of ignoring... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Cosimo climbs over the wall into a magnolia tree in the D’Ondarivas’ garden. Biagio explains that from this point on, he’s recounting the story... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Viola and Cosimo argue over whether Cosimo is on her land. Cosimo says that the trees are his territory, so he’s not technically on her land. They discuss the rules of... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
...with Viola, but he also feels prideful and shy. He climbs back up into the tree. (full context)
Chapter 3
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
For Biagio, the afternoon seems to drag on forever. He meets Cosimo in the mulberry with cake and dried figs, though Cosimo still acts betrayed. Biagio explains that he had... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
...At dinner, the family peers outside. They can just see Cosimo’s legs dangling from the oak. The cavalier avvocato makes odd comments in Turkish, and Battista seems perturbed that she’s not... (full context)
Chapter 4
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...that in the olden days, a monkey could travel from Rome to Spain in the trees. During his lifetime, the trees in Europe were only dense around Ombrosa. Today, the landscape... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Cosimo wakes up in the tree that first morning and looks around. He senses a wave running through the countryside and... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...fruit thieves are shocked to discover Cosimo sitting in the top of the tallest cherry tree, eating cherries. They call him an “ice cream eater,” but are intimidated by him. One... (full context)
Chapter 5
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
Suddenly, Cosimo leaps up and moves through the trees. He passes through the di Rondò garden several times, which causes Baron Arminio to try... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
...whip, while the boys all bite their fingers or plums. Cosimo emerges from a fig tree and blurts that he hasn’t left the trees. Biagio notes that saying something like this... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...Viola and the fruit thieves upside-down and vows to never talk about being in the trees again. He climbs upright as Viola blows the horn and takes off. The boys follow... (full context)
Chapter 6
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Cosimo spends his first days in the trees discovering everything he can about the trees, but he also shows up often in the... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...in. Cosimo and Viola ignore the group and continue their games, and Cosimo moves from tree to tree whenever the cavalier avvocato gets close. Every time the ladder moves, it destroys... (full context)
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...the cat. He knows in this moment that he’s committed to his life in the trees: he can’t escape by failing. (full context)
Chapter 7
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Battista makes the final attempt to capture Cosimo by smearing his favorite tree in sticky birdlime one night. In the morning she finds stuck birds, but not Cosimo.... (full context)
Chapter 8
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...a scene, but Cosimo points out that he can still be a gentleman from the trees. In a tired voice, Baron Arminio asks Cosimo to come back down, but Cosimo refuses.... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
...him out laden with warm apple syrup and an oilcloth. Biagio locates Cosimo in the trees and the two boys struggle to get the packages into the crude tent. They abandon... (full context)
Chapter 9
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
...this first lesson, things return to normal—the only difference is that Cosimo stays in the trees. He’s solitary but seems to care only for the people. He befriends and earns the... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...to the count, who laughs and declares that Cosimo is clever to live in the trees. Cosimo cleans his rifle, which delights the count. Baron Arminio looks ready to die when... (full context)
Chapter 10
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Olive trees are comfortable for Cosimo, while fig trees are unpredictable and sticky. Walnut trees seem like... (full context)
Chapter 11
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...but hunt and fish. He seems to become a lot like an animal or a tree, but Biagio thinks that it’s still clear that he’s a human through and through. Despite... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...and walks behind the cloud of bees until the bees all descend onto a pomegranate tree. Cosimo sits at the top until his uncle asks him to shake the branch to... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The cavalier avvocato often joins Cosimo in the trees to discuss the plans. They never move on to actually building anything, and Cosimo seems... (full context)
Chapter 12
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
One afternoon, as Cosimo reads a novel in a walnut tree, a shabby-looking man races ahead of two constables who shout that they’re running down Gian... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
...novel. Cosimo gets another copy of it and reads to the bandit from a pine tree near his window. He then chooses a happier novel. It takes days to get Gian... (full context)
Chapter 13
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...the student, and Cosimo convinces the Abbé to spend more and more time in the trees arguing about monarchies, republics, religion, and empiricism—often for so long that the Abbé misses Biagio’s... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...neighbors (Biagio insists that Cosimo learned this from Gian dei Brughi). Cosimo learns to prune trees and so prunes orchards and gardens in winter. As he prunes, he trains the trees... (full context)
Chapter 14
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...so one night Cosimo wakes to discover that someone set a fire right under his tree. Cosimo’s first thought is not for his safety, but about the possible destruction of all... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...stay away from the woods and his enemies, Cosimo worries about how to protect the trees from fire. A drought starts a fire along the coast near Provence, and it’s possible... (full context)
Chapter 15
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
...telling the pirates about routes, schedules, and cargo of local ships. Cosimo sits in his tree, stunned. As a child he thought his uncle was untrustworthy, but his recent dealings with... (full context)
Chapter 16
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...has gone according to plan: he’s still not a duke, Cosimo is still in the trees, and the cavalier avvocato is dead. Baron Arminio begins to rave against the Jesuits and... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...life changes little. He appears more often in the city and tells stories from his tree. He often recounts the story of the cavalier avvocato’s end, but in order to appease... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...it’s obviously not their native language. Finally, he comes upon groups of nobles in the trees, and they greet Cosimo in a tone of bitter understanding. Cosimo identifies the man who... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Cosimo peppers Father Sulpicio, a Jesuit, with questions about how the Spaniards live in the trees. He’s cagey about answering, but Don Frederico answers some of the questions. Father Sulpicio shows... (full context)
Chapter 18
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
Cosimo and Ursula spend their days in the blooming fruit trees. Cosimo makes himself useful by teaching the Spaniards how to move through the trees and... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...to Ursula. Ursula is thrilled, but Cosimo insists that he wants to stay in the trees. Soon after, Don Frederico receives a letter from King Carlos III, inviting everyone home. The... (full context)
Chapter 19
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...so many lovers, than how does one explain the many nights that Cosimo roamed the trees, yowling for a woman? Old men kindly send Cosimo on his way, while bold girls... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...the book’s epilogue should’ve said that the author, after establishing the perfect state in the trees and convincing everyone to live there, now lives on the earth. However, Cosimo never finishes... (full context)
Chapter 20
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...and is surprised that Biagio is Cosimo’s brother. When Voltaire asks if Cosimo lives in trees to get closer to the sky, Biagio answers that Cosimo believes that in order to... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...to join the bloodhounds or court Great Danes. Cosimo restlessly climbs to the tops of trees, unsure of what he wants. One day, Ottimo Massimo restlessly sniffs the wind. Suddenly he... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...and tell Cosimo that Ottimo Massimo is with the widow duchess. Cosimo remains in the tree at the edge of the meadow, studying the meadow as though it is the one... (full context)
Chapter 21
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Viola gallops through a chestnut wood and Cosimo leaps through the trees after her. She reappears closer and again, Cosimo can only make the sound of a... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...at the end of the park in an hour. Cosimo fearfully races for the big tree and Viola arrives on time. Cosimo helps her into the tree and admits that he... (full context)
Chapter 22
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Cosimo leads Viola to the tree where he carved their names alongside Ottimo Massimo’s. Viola is moved and when she learns... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...races away. When she returns, Cosimo calls for her attention and hurts himself or destroys trees until she runs away again. She finally seems suddenly moved by Cosimo’s acts. (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...to these moments of despair, Cosimo also experiences explosions of joy and leaps through the trees, shouting about Viola. He often recites love poems in other languages, and, once, during a... (full context)
Chapter 23
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...away for months at a time. When she’s gone, Cosimo spends more time in the oak in the square. She always leaves after a fight, though they do make up first,... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...villa. Viola hangs out the windows in a nightgown, and Cosimo camps out in her trees to watch everything. He plans to trick his rivals and hopes that Viola wants to... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...tricking. Cosimo reasons that they’ll probably meet at the summerhouse, so he hides in the trees around it. The Neapolitan arrives and Cosimo shoots squirrel dung at him. When the Englishman... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...They rush as though to get angry with Viola, but Viola angrily climbs into the trees to confront Cosimo. She cries that she wants him jealous like this all the time... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...their days playing dice while Viola stalks around in discontent. She finds Cosimo in a tree one day and says she’s tired of all three men, and the officers’ promises aren’t... (full context)
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...but they eventually disappear. Cosimo wanders through the wood, weeping in grief. Then, he destroys trees. He doesn’t resent Viola, but he does resent himself for losing her because of his... (full context)
Chapter 24
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
...out against humans—and the birds, sensing this change, fly close to him. He decorates his trees with written pages, posters, and various other items. Biagio says that in his opinion, the... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...on them to protect him, but he hoarsely tells people to tie sheep in the trees. He gets out of his sleeping sack and shows people where to tie the sheep.... (full context)
Chapter 25
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...local Freemason, and attend a meeting. The next day, Cosimo sneakily follows them from the trees to a tavern, where the men meet a man in a big black hat. The... (full context)
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...from society, but it always seemed as though the more time he spent in the trees, the more he wanted to relate to other people. Cosimo throws himself into forming new... (full context)
Chapter 26
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...the news of the French Revolution. He finds a school notebook, hangs it from a tree, and asks everyone to record what’s wrong in their lives. Cosimo decides it’s too sad,... (full context)
Chapter 28
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...Italy. The Ombrosotti arrange for him to visit Cosimo, and they choose a beautiful walnut tree and decorate it with ribbons. Napoleon arrives hours after the appointed time and begins to... (full context)
Chapter 29
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...lives for ideals he doesn’t know how to explain, except that he lives in the trees. The officer nervously bids Cosimo goodbye. (full context)
Chapter 30
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Biagio says that Cosimo started sleeping in the walnut tree in the square. He refused to come down but accepted the help of an old... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...he stops and goes to the window. Now, the sky is empty—there are no more trees. Where there are trees, they’re now exotic trees. Native trees only live up on the... (full context)