Since humans first utilized wood for fire, tools and utensils, certain trees have held a special significance as both practical providers and powerful spiritual presences. The specific trees varied between different cultures and geographic areas, but those held to be 'sacred' shared certain traits in common - unusual size or beauty, the wide range of materials they provided, unique physical characteristics, or simply the power of the tree's spirit could grant it a central place in the folklore and mythology of a culture. Even today, certain trees capture our imagination. The majestic oak, the ancient yew, the evergreens we bring into our homes each winter - all are reminders of the power that trees can have in our lives.
Jennifer Smith, Sacred Woods and the Lore of Trees
"I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines."
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
People in suburbia see trees differently than foresters do. They cherish every one. It is useless to speak of the probability that a certain tree will die when the tree is in someone's backyard ... You are talking about a personal asset, a friend, a monument, not about board feet of lumber.
Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root.
A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great ... Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree.
It's one thing not to see the forest for the trees, but then to go on to deny the reality of the forest is a more serious matter.
The forests are the flags of nature. They appeal to all and awaken inspiring universal feelings. Enter the forest and the boundaries of nations are forgotten. It may be that some time an immortal pine will be the flag of a united peaceful world.
Enos A. Mills
Do not be afraid to go out on a limb ... That's where the fruit is.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now. Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree.
The tree is a centered creature, for its energies are radial. Its roots and branches spread wide, laying a circular network around the bole. The tree lives at both ends; the trunk and the leaves reach up to light and air; the roots stretch down to earth and water. The roots are essential. Leaves and branches fall, the trunk may be severed, but if the roots are not destroyed there is hope for most trees of continuing life. The power is in the roots – the symbol of life.
The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.
A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world.
If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches on the same tree.
"Sometimes Thou may'st walk in Groves,
which being full of Majestie will much advance the Soul."
Thomas Vaughan, Anima Magica Abscondita
And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance—
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins.
Kathleen Raine, Envoi
Ghosts of the world-wood: the trees are felled,
Stumps; puny saplings which replace them
will outgrow me and then outlive me.
Michael Vince, The Thicket
"A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself."
"By the grey woods, by the swamp, where the toad and newt encamp, by the dismal tarns and pools, where dwell the Gouls. By each spot the most unholy, by each nook most melancholy, there the traveller meets, aghast, sheeted memories of the Past. Shrouded forms that start and sigh, as they pass the wanderer by. White-robed forms of friends long given; In agony, to the Earth - and Heaven."
A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.
I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, travelling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!
Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man. No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body."
When walking through a warm and lush forest setting one's thoughts can easily take flights of fancy. It is not difficult to shed the layers of modern life and find one's more subtle or primitive beginnings. Somewhere from deep within the spirit and majesty of each single tree steps forth and at once one can find themselves transported to a world of shadow and shade.
Morgan La Fey, Sacred Trees
Trees purify the air; they also purify the mind…if you want to save your world, you must save the trees.
The Trees of Endor
The best friend of earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.
The individual whose idea of developing the country is to cut every stick of timber off it and then leave a barren desert for the homemaker who comes in after him...that man is a curse and not a blessing to this country.
When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. ... the White people pay no attention. ...How can the spirit of the earth like the White man? ... everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore.
Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed, chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in place of old trees — tens of centuries old — that have been destroyed. It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods, — trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ's time — and long before that — God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods, but he cannot save them from fools — only Uncle Sam can do that.
I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. Look at the sun: If there is no sun, then we cannot exist. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals.
Trees can reduce the heat of a summer's day, quiet a highway's noise, feed the hungry, provide shelter from the wind and warmth in the winter. You see, the forests are the sanctuaries not only of wildlife, but also of the human spirit. And every tree is a compact between generations.
At first I thought I was fighting to save the rubber trees; then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.
Forests precede civilizations and deserts follow them.
Reforesting the earth is possible, given a human touch.
Sandra Postel and Lori Heise
Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, and the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which without stint produces strengthening essences for us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent and intimate hours.
Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Regrets, 1896
A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for posterity.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.
Cree Indian saying
That each day I may walk unceasingly on the banks of my water, that my soul may repose on the branches of the trees which I planted, that I may refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore.
Egyptian tomb inscription, circa 1400 BC
Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good
Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.