With area Arbor Days at hand I thought it appropriate to reflect on how intertwined our lives are with trees. We not only use forest products multiple times every day, but their constant presence is inspiring enough to be used in literature, poetry and music.
A centuries old form of writing to teach wisdom is the proverb, a brief statement that expresses a general truth. The Bible is full of them, and they are used by about every culture on the planet. A way to juice up a proverb is to use figurative language, like: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water…” It makes for imaginative reading that will be remembered.
• What follows is a listing of wise sayings where trees are expressively used.
• Judge a tree from its fruits, not from its leaves. — Euripedes
• Love is flower like; Friendship is like a sheltering tree. — Samuel Coleridge
• Stand still. The tree ahead and the bush beside you are not lost. — Einstein
• If you climb up a tree, you must climb down the same tree. — African Proverb
• An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from. — Timothy Dexter
• There is not a tree in heaven higher than the tree of patience. — Irish Saying
• From a fallen tree make kindling. — Spanish Proverb
• When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree. — Vietnamese Proverb
• The tree of silence bears the fruit of peace. — Arabian Proverb
• The tree of revenge does not carry fruit. — Dutch Proverb
• Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree. — Ethiopian Proverb
• The ripest peach is highest on the tree. — James Riley
• A wholesome tongue is a tree of life; but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. — Proverbs 15:4
• A good word is like a good tree whose root is firmly fixed and whose top is in the sky. — Quran
• It is not the last blow of the axe that fells the tree.
• Even the highest tree has an axe waiting at its foot. — Turkish Proverb
• Tall trees catch much wind.
• He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.
• The stronger the breeze the stronger the trees.
• A chameleon does not leave one tree until he is sure of another. — Arabian Proverb
• It is only the tree loaded with fruit that the people throw stones at. — French Proverb
• You should go to a pear tree for pears, not to an elm. — Publilius Syrus
Steve Roark is a retired area forester from Tazewell, Tennessee.