Mother Nature begins to awaken from the harsh winter while the Romantics advance along a narrow path between high snow-capped mountains. Everywhere you hear the word “sublime” on their lips. Because Romantics feel a sincere love for Nature. With the excuse of having to relieve himself, Wieland gets out of the path and embraces a red spruce passionately. From the path, the others hear him murmuring and panting. And, thinking that Wieland has met someone, they join him at the precise moment when he is proposing to the tree and then stamps his lips against the trunk. When feeling reciprocated, he presses his lips with even more pleasure. He stays that way for a while, like in a rapture. However, upon hearing the sudden laughter of his companions, he tries to detach himself from the trunk. But it’s too late: the red spruce has fallen in love with Wieland and nothing will be able to separate them.
But this is merely a romantic interpretation. The rough reality is that the poet’s lips have remained attached to the tree due to the abundant resin oozing from the trunk. Can anyone imagine a more touching example of symbiosis between man and Nature? But for his frenetic mimicry, Dorothea Schlegel deduces that he does not want to forever bond to a particular tree. Hence, they grab him by the feet and pull him hard. But it’s useless. Schlegel suggests that there is no choice but to cut down the tree. However, Bettina Brentano and Adele Schopenhauer angrily protest about such attack against Nature. “Does Schlegel imagine that a tree like that grows overnight?” “What do you suggest then?”, he asks, “To leave Wieland stuck to this tree forever?” Adele promises to come daily to feed and give drink to Wieland if necessary. But Schlegel makes her notice that one eats and drinks through the mouth, which is precisely the organ that is useless in this case.
Here Mrs. Schopenhauer sees raised a clear moral dilemma and proposes to go to discuss it unhurriedly to the camp. Also, they will have a lunch of the austere food based on cold cuts they have brought prepared from Weimar. Subjected to vote, the proposal is unanimously accepted. Therefore, the group says goodbye to Wieland and returns to the castle by the same way they came.
Wieland is left alone, in a highly embarrassing situation, as when his colleagues at the University discovered him swimming in a dry stream. “What would they think if they could see me right now?”, he asks himself. “I’m getting a reputation as a weirdo. Only because I love Nature and speak with flowers and butterflies, and for years I wooed a petunia.” Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye he senses a purple flash. Alarmed, he glances sidelong again, but everything around him returns to green and brown tones. After a while, he hears a woman’s voice behind him, a sweet and caressing voice that tells him to close his eyes and not to move. He obeys and then feels intense heat on his face. Little by little, the heat melts the hardened resin until Wieland takes control of his mouth again. The heat fades, but Wieland gradually manages to remove the softened resin from his lips. When he finally frees himself completely, he looks around for his liberator, but sees no one.