The Screaming of the Trees

The Use of Nature in Books

The celebration of Nature in books today has diminished since the days of Thoreau and Wordsworth. But I have decided to make the natural world one of the central themes in all my novels.

From the beginning I decided that fantasy needed to be reborn within the grandeur of Nature, much as Tolkien had tried to do. So, I set about creating the majesty of my world from Romantic period concepts related to the concept of boundless oceans, forests, rivers, and lands.

In truth, all these things live in the depths of our minds, influenced by our childhood experiences out in Nature, but cultivated by the imagination within us that asks the eternal question: What lies beyond?

In the end, what the mind cultivates if explored in dreams is a vast and endless landscape that reflects from within the individual’s desire for grand spaces, terrible forests filled with shadows of jet, the beauty of the sapphirine ocean depths, and the soul’s eternal search for some emerald paradise on earth that once was but today can never be.

That idea formed the basis for my belief in a new, deeper fiction that portrays Nature as a mirror of the unconscious Garden of Eden….the heavenly paradise of the Gods that lives in all of us and which no corporation, government, or modern culture can ever destroy or fade. For the inspirations of the artist hold a much truer and purer connection to the earth and its Beauty than anything manipulated for Mankind’s greed or perversion.

In the end, Nature in the real world and in the mind are linked by some deep desire for each other; something bound together by mutual respect and by some living spirit we both share. Wordsworth and many 19th century writers knew this. Today we do not. But we are of Nature and it is of us. And writing about Nature in the Phantammeron novels has revealed to me something ancient and far more meaningful than modern entertainment currently portrays. It is thrilling to write about forests, oceans, and storms in my books. For I not just reflect on the ancient past and reflect upon much older writing traditions, but rebel against modern trends that currently subvert her to Humanity’s current selfish desires.

Below is an excerpt from the Phantammeron, where the Magra storm called Yana penetrates the forested lands of Phantaia, assaulting her cliffs with winds and rain.

The Screaming of the Trees

“Above the heads of the wooded cliffs, a towering tempest soon formed, within whose walls flashed great bolts of blue lightning, crisscrossing in webs of chaotic light across the skies. From the shadowy gray depths, the colder clouds belched up a blast of violent winds, which bore their full fury upon the terrified trees above. The unbending oaks then began to creak and sway as the terrible tumult fast approached.

Her storm front soon encircled the trees, which had stood so bravely upon the rocky heights. Rain and hail, ice and sleet flew down from the swirling blue clouds, as a vicious gale beat upon the bent and wailing trees.

The ancient oaks, which had formed an impenetrable gateway upon the cliffs were torn limb from limb in the violent storm, their trunks and roots yanked away from the rocky face. Slung up into the clouds, and shredded in the Heavens, their splintered remains were then thrown down into the mouth of the insane Magra Mother, where they were consumed and devoured within the belly of the angry and churning sky.

All about the borders of Phantaia was heard the horrible roar of the savage destruction endlessly rent upon the woods. The ripping away of limbs and roots could be heard from far away, such that the insatiable hunger of Yana had caused the distant trees to shake and tremble in terror. For to them alone would be heard the screaming of the trees, their innocent brethren, crying out in horror in the depths of that terrible gale.”

Excerpt From

Phantammeron Book One

Mitchell Stokely



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