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Quotations about Trees


Related Quotes      Environment      Nature      Arbor Day      Flowers


Welcome to my page of quotations about trees, man’s brethren in nature as they are called. I’ve no idea why “advocates for the preservation of woodlands” (a.k.a. tree huggers) are generally held in negative regard in our society, but I suppose you could consider me one. I’ve been collecting nature quotes since the 1980s, but more recently my compilation of tree quotes has become extra special as I’ve finally rounded up all my excerpts relating to the amazing old-growth giant coastal redwood trees and grouped them together on the page. It’s at the end, titled “Redwood Quotes,” along with a few on the giant sequoias. After spending many hours reading, I’ve also found several beautifully-worded writings from the late 1800s and early 1900s, unearthed them from Google Books and they must be long-forgotten because they aren’t quoted anywhere else on the Web. I’m pleased to revive these precious vintage words and share them with a world which fortunately has managed to spare a few areas of the magnificent, irreplaceable, and even more vintage redwood forests. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g, July 2014


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. ~Henry David Thoreau


You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night. ~Denise Levertov


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. ~Henry David Thoreau


The trees are God’s great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene.
~Leonora Speyer


It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground. But they never seem so to me. 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, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far! ~John Muir, July 1890


Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,
Unnerves his strength, invites his end.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Woodnotes”


I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. ~Willa Cather, 1913


Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing “Embraceable You” in spats. ~Woody Allen


If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. ~Jack Handey


I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.
~Ogden Nash, “Song of the Open Road,” 1933  [the opening lines being a take on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees,” quoted below on this page —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


The groves were God’s first temples. ~William Cullen Bryant, “A Forest Hymn”


Trees are your best antiques. ~Alexander Smith


Clouds at noon occupying about half the sky gave half an hour of heavy rain to wash one of the cleanest landscapes in the world. How well it is washed!... How fresh the woods are and calm after the last films of clouds have been wiped from the sky! 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 fibre 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. ~John Muir, 1869 July 24th


A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible. ~Welsh Proverb


For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther


There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier


It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees. ~Wilson Flagg


And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. ~William Shakespeare


We all travel the milky way together, trees and men; but it never occurred to me until this storm-day, while swinging in the wind, that trees are travelers, in the ordinary sense. They make many journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true; but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings—many of them not so much. ~John Muir, "A Wind Storm in the Forests of the Yuba," Scribner's Monthly, November 1878


The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert


Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart.
~Candy Polgar


Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk? ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982


It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~Robert Louis Stevenson


He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~Lucy Larcom, “Plant a Tree”


Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does. ~George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists, 1903


Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894


Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Khalil Gibran


To the great tree-loving fraternity we belong. We love trees with universal and unfeigned love, and all things that do grow under them or around them — the whole leaf and root tribe. ~Henry Ward Beecher


The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods -
~Robert Frost


The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. ~Chinese Proverb


I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. ~James Russell Lowell


 
 
Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives, or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter. ~Fernando Pessoa


The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson


No town can fail of beauty, though its walks were gutters and its houses hovels, if venerable trees make magnificent colonnades along its streets. ~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs, 1887


Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. ~Bill Vaughn


If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today. ~Stephen Girard


Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies, 1928


The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way. ~William Blake


Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good. ~Sara Ebenreck, American Forests


Why are there trees I never walk under
But large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892


The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what “the story of the trees” would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand. ~Author unknown, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938


They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
Put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
’Til it’s gone...
~Joni Mitchell, from “Big Yellow Taxi,” lyrics written circa 1967–68, © Siquomb Publishing Company


There are rich counsels in the trees. ~Herbert P. Horne


God in the whizzing of a pleasant wind
Shall march upon the tops of mulberry trees.
~George Peele, David and Fair Bathsabe, 1599


Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods and listen to the magic whispers of old trees. ~Author Unknown


The trees are whispering to me, reminding me of my roots, and my reach... shhhhhh... can you hear them? Selflessly sharing their subtle song. ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com


The best part of happiness is the pines. ~Terri Guillemets


Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Proverb


To heal mine aching moods,
Give me God’s virgin woods.
~Clinton Scollard


Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning


In the storm, like a prophet o’ermaddened,
Thou singest and tossest thy branches;
Thy heart with the terror is gladdened,
Thou forebodest the dread avalanches....
In the calm thou o’erstretchest the valleys
With thine arms, as if blessings imploring,
Like an old king led forth from his palace,
When his people to battle are pouring...
~James Russell Lowell, “To A Pine-Tree”


Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life. ~John Muir  [For quite some time I wasn’t sure if this was an actual Muir quotation, but fortunately Dan Styer has worked hard to track it down. Read about it here: oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/Muir/QuotableJohnMuir.html. Thanks, Dan! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


But these trees are derelicts—throwing out a wisp of foliage here and there, a truce to death, with each returning spring. ~Julia Ellen Rogers, “The Big Tree and the Redwood,” The Tree Book: A Popular Guide to a Knowledge of the Trees of North America and to their Uses and Cultivation, 1905


If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~Hal Borland


It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the nation’s need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted. ~Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 Arbor Day Message


Oaks are the true conservatives;
They hold old leaves till summer gives
A green exchange.
~Roy Helton, Come Back to Earth


A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense. ~American Proverb


...Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed trees
Bending to counterfeit a breeze...
~James Russell Lowell


The bark of the banished trees is clawed and scratched by furry apple-thieves, and the boughs bent and broken so that they fall about your shoulders if you stand under them. Apple-trees like to cuddle, and it must soothe their loneliness to have a woman’s hand touch their torn and wounded skin, and a woman’s eyes look up into their green souls. ~Margaret Troili, “Woods of Mendocino,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, June 1908


[T]he bees will buzz you a welcome from the hives at the end, and then the trees will stoop down about you, and you can look up into a green sky set with constellations of apples. ~Margaret Troili, “Woods of Mendocino,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, June 1908


Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other’s company. Only a few love to be alone. ~Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939


Exhalation of moss, mycelium, black mould; wafted savor of a thousand earthly growths, damp, clinging, redolent; aroma of mighty roots, of invisible spawn and seed—all the vast stirring of the earth’s desire. ~Virginia Garland, “The Rain,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908


Newspapers: dead trees with information smeared on them. ~Horizon, “Electronic Frontier”


As the spring comes on, and the densening outlines of the elm give daily a new design for a Grecian urn, — its hue, first brown with blossoms, then emerald with leaves, — we appreciate the vanishing beauty of the bare boughs. In our favored temperate zone, the trees denude themselves each year, like the goddesses before Paris, that we may see which unadorned loveliness is the fairest. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861


They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers. ~James G. Watt, quoted in Newsweek, 1982 March 8th


The ancient tea mountains bathed in the setting sunshine.
The old tea trees stretching out their ancient branches
As if turning their nose to the human world and recalling antiquity.
~Yang Jiang Ming


Only yonder magnificent pine-tree... holds her unchanging beauty throughout the year, like her half-brother, the ocean, whose voice she shares; and only marks the flowing of her annual tide of life by the new verdure that yearly submerges all trace of last year's ebb. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861


Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ~Henry David Thoreau, “Chesuncook,” The Maine Woods, 1848


A tree which has lost its head will never recover it again, and will survive only as a monument of the ignorance and folly of its Tormentor. ~George William Curtis


Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho


I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat — glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning? ~Frank N. Ikard, North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, March 1968


Maybe trees don't like to be hugged. ~Author Unknown


You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964


The beauty of the forest is extraordinary — but ‘beauty’ is too simple a word, for being here is not just an aesthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, with awe.... My father once told me that the very word ‘paradise’ meant garden.... But gardens, Eden or Kew, are not the right metaphors here, for the primeval has nothing to do with the human, but has to do with the ancient, the aboriginal, the beginning of all things. The primeval, the sublime, are much better words here — for they indicate realms remote from the moral or the human, realms which force us to gaze into immense vistas of space and time, where the beginnings and originations of all things lie hidden. Now, as I wandered in the cycad forest on Rota, it seemed as if my senses were actually enlarging, as if a new sense, a time sense, was opening within me, something which might allow me to appreciate millennia or aeons as directly as I had experienced seconds or minutes.... Standing here in the jungle, I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth. ~Oliver Sacks, The Island of the Colour-blind and Cycad Island, 1996  (Thanks, Dan!)


Plants are the young of the world, vessels of health and vigor; but they grope ever upward towards consciousness; the trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment, rooted in the ground. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


A bare tree stands
with roots on both ends
in December days.
~Kiran Bantawa, "Bare Trees"


I always feel at home where the sugar maple grows.... glorious in autumn, a fountain of coolness in summer, sugar in its veins, gold in its foliage, warmth in its fibers, and health in it the year round. ~John Burroughs


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~Joyce Kilmer, “Trees,” 1914


Climb a tree — it gets you closer to heaven. ~Anonymous


We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved. ~Author Unknown


Save a tree. Eat a beaver. ~Author Unknown


Bread and butter, devoid of charm in the drawing-room, is ambrosia eating under a tree. ~Elizabeth Russell


As the poet said, “only God can make a tree” — probably because it’s so hard to figure out how to get the bark on. ~Woody Allen


Giant Sequoia & Redwood Quotes


This is their temple, vaulted high,
      And here we pause with reverent eye,
      With silent tongue and awe-struck soul;
      For here we sense life’s proper goal.
To be like these, straight, true and fine,
      To make our world, like theirs, a shrine;
      Sink down, O traveler, on your knees,
      God stands before you in these trees.
~Joseph B. Strauss, from “The Redwoods,” 1932


But more impressive than the facts and figures as to height, width, age, etc., are the entrancing beauty and tranquility that pervade the forest, the feelings of peace, awe and reverence that it inspires. ~George McDonald, Dollarwise Guide to California and Las Vegas, 1983, about Muir Woods redwood forest in California


      “It’s tacky to go to a drive-thru redwood,” one of the women said....
      And there It is... with the gaping wound in the middle.... I feel a serious reluctance to go through with it, but what with the RVs and the motorcycles parked every which way, I can’t figure how else to get out.... I careen through the tree, ashamed to meet it this way, as if it were a being sentient enough to be humiliated, not below us on the Great Chain after all, those of us violating its great gutted bowel.
      Wrong, I mutter, trying to erase the moment, unsee this huge scabbed and humiliated elephant in its dirty cage at a bad zoo. I want to un-be myself, ever ready with my endless curiosity and my notebook where—damn it—I pause long enough to get the poem.
      ~Patricia Hampl, Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life, 1992  [The poem Hampl refers to is Strauss’ “The Redwoods” quoted above, on a plaque. And sister, I felt the same way driving through that poor tree. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Having made these noble trees an especial study during the past year, I approach them always, I may say, with reverence. As giants and patriarchs of the forest they stand alone. Nowhere throughout the world can be found living trees that are more majestic and inspiring.... It is a pleasure to linger in the redwoods to contemplate their greatness.... The trees are grand without being oppressive; noble but not arrogant; lords of the soil that do not impoverish the land. ~F.H. Clark, “Forestry; Redwoods,” Annual Report of the State Board of Horticulture of the State of California, for 1891


We seek their companionship with quiet satisfaction; for, in striking contrast with the heavy shade and gloomy depths of our great pine forests, the shadows in the densest growth of redwoods are made soft and semi-luminous by rays of sunlight piercing the feathery foliage, glistening through the pillared glades, illuminating the warm brown and somber gray trunks of these grand trees, and “awakening to more vivid tints of green the swaying branches sweeping the clear blue sky.” And this commingling of light and shade gives to daylight in the redwoods a peculiar softness in keeping with the stillness of the scene. ~F.H. Clark, “Forestry; Redwoods,” Annual Report of the State Board of Horticulture of the State of California, for 1891  [Dear Reader: I couldn’t determine the author or passage being quoted here by Clark. If you know, please do let me know. I’ll send you a big virtual hug in appreciation! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Their preservation depends upon a sentiment. As sentiment never yet annihilated a paying industry, we cannot hope to stay, wholly, the ax and saw of the lumberman. But popular opinion, combined with action, if directed intelligently towards the setting apart of some one section of the noble redwood forests... will, I believe, save for our present delight and for that of the generations who come after us, at least one grand forest of the Sequoia sempervirens such as the world cannot show elsewhere, such as a thousand years cannot reproduce. ~F.H. Clark, “Forestry; Redwoods,” Annual Report of the State Board of Horticulture of the State of California, for 1891


After this experience he might be translated mystically to another plane of existence, to another dimension, just as the redwoods seem to be out of time and out of our ordinary thinking. The experience might even drive him mad.... The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time. ~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley In Search of America, 1962


They carry their own light and shade. The vainest, most slap-happy and irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect.... One feels the need to bow to unquestioned sovereigns. There’s a cathedral hush here. Perhaps the thick soft bark absorbs sound and creates a silence. The trees rise straight up to zenith; there is no horizon.... [T]he green fernlike foliage so far up strains the sunlight to a green gold and distributes it in shafts or rather in stripes of light and shade. To me there’s a remote and cloistered feeling here. One holds back speech for fear of disturbing something—what? ~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley In Search of America, 1962


[T]hese are the last remaining members of a race that flourished over four continents as far back in geologic time as the upper Jurassic period. Fossils of these ancients have been found dating from the Cretaceous era while in the Eocene and Miocene they were spread over England and Europe and America. And then the glaciers moved down and wiped the Titans out beyond recovery. And only these few are left—a stunning memory of what the world was like once long ago. Can it be that we do not love to be reminded that we are very young and callow in a world that was old when we came into it? ~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley In Search of America, 1962


The smell of the sea hugged the fog in the redwood trees,
All cool and dank, dimly lit and rank with green,
And in shadowed limbs the Stellar jays jabbered free,
And me, standing silently, an alien in this enchanted scene...
~Michael P. Garofalo, from “The Decaying Tree,” 2012, Meetings with Master Chang San-Feng


The oldest living things upon the earth are the big trees on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in California. Since the first white man saw them, about seventy years ago, historians have grown old and died, quarreling as to whether John Bidwell or a hunter named A.T. Dowd was that man, and scientists have wrangled themselves into their graves without finally deciding whether the species should be called Sequoia gigantea or Sequoia Washingtoniana; but some of these trees were five hundred years old when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt — and they are green and growing still. In the struggle for existence, they and man have proved themselves the fittest to survive, but since the two have met, man threatens to extinguish these noblest living ornaments of nature, the most impressive of all monuments to the tenacity of organic life. Some thousands only of these trees now exist as reminders of the age when forests of them were abroad in Europe and America. Most of these few are privately owned; more than half are owned by lumber companies; and saw-mills are nibbling at the edges of the finest groves. ~French Strother, “Saving the Big Trees: The Need of Further National, State, and Private Protection for the Remnants of the Groves that Are Being Cut,” The World’s Work, June 1909


The other great tree of California is the Sequoia sempervirens, or the redwood, as it is invariably called. As the big tree is found only on the western slope of the Coast Range, and it thrives directly in proportion as it gets the ocean fogs from the Pacific. It is not so old a tree, nor so thick, as the gigantea, but it is as tall.... Though less majestic than the big tree, it is more gracefully beautiful.... It makes one of the densest of all forests, almost completely shading the ground, in spite of which it is usually the home of a thick and beautiful undergrowth of ferns and flowering shrubs. Probably no American forest is so picturesque as the redwood. ~French Strother, “Saving the Big Trees: The Need of Further National, State, and Private Protection for the Remnants of the Groves that Are Being Cut,” The World’s Work, June 1909


No nobler monuments of our love for beauty can be erected than to preserve these oldest and biggest trees in the world and these tallest trees in America. ~French Strother, “Saving the Big Trees: The Need of Further National, State, and Private Protection for the Remnants of the Groves that Are Being Cut,” The World’s Work, June 1909


Sweet wet balm of bough and branch.... Here is a chestnut sister, and there a sequoia brother. ~Virginia Garland, “The Rain,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908


Follow Terri Guillemets' board Redwood & Sequoia on Pinterest.


Uncle Sam is not often called a fool in business matters, yet he has sold millions of acres of timber land at two dollars and a half an acre on which a single tree was worth more than a hundred dollars. But this priceless land has been patented, and nothing can be done now about the crazy bargain.... a bad, black business from beginning to end. ~John Muir, “The American Forests,” August 1897


The redwood is one of the few conifers that sprout from the stump and roots, and it declares itself willing to begin immediately to repair the damage of the lumberman and also that of the forest-burner. ~John Muir, “The American Forests,” August 1897


Gigantic second and third growth trees are found in the redwoods, forming magnificent temple-like circles around charred ruins more than a thousand years old. ~John Muir, “The American Forests,” August 1897


[T]he ground beneath them is a garden of fresh, exuberant ferns, lilies, gaultheria, and rhododendron. ~John Muir, “The American Forests,” August 1897


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.... 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. ~John Muir, “The American Forests,” August 1897


My dad once gave me a few words of wisdom which I’ve always tried to live by. He said, “Son, never throw a punch at a redwood.” ~Magnum, P.I.


A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky,
Voice of a mighty dying tree in the Redwood forest dense....
[T]he wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to join the refrain;
But in my soul I plainly heard.
Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,
Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs—out of its foot-thick bark,
That chant of the seasons and time—chant, not of the past only, but of the future...
~Walt Whitman, from “Song of the Redwood-Tree,” c.1874


No other tree combines such massiveness of trunk with such height.... Spruces and pines of majestic port standing around look like saplings.... They look up, but the Sequoias look—not down but out, indifferent to all that is transpiring below them. They see only the limitless reaches of the eternal sky... ~Julia Ellen Rogers, “The Big Tree and the Redwood,” The Tree Book: A Popular Guide to a Knowledge of the Trees of North America and to their Uses and Cultivation, 1905


...mystery and charm unique among living works of creation... ~Author unknown  [This was reportedly said to Grant, Osborn, and Merriam, describing the northern California redwoods that prompted their 1917 “historic camping trip” leading to preservation of some remaining old-growth forest areas. Go tree-huggers! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred. ~Theodore Roosevelt


      The road is broad, for a wood-road, and it first lays itself over a slight knoll, from which the valley shrinks into a picture.... It is green and soft gold; gently blurred, huddling alders by the river; straight, severe pines and redwoods on the ridges.
      Then the road takes the steepest slope, and the trees begin to stand in front of the valley-picture, and to step down about you. The Mesquite Field ridge absorbs all your energies. There are black stumps of trees, fallen sooty trunks around which the gracious fern has grouped its friendly brethren. But higher on the ridge are trees yet untouched, rising in their proud, silent way.
      The ocean is marking the line of its domain far off in a creamy blur. To it falls a long sea-slope, fortified rearward by ridge after ridge, pressing on with bayonets of pine and redwood.... It is fine and airy up here, above the sea, and yet within high reach of its steady thunder, borne up on a breeze sent landward. ~Margaret Troili, “Woods of Mendocino,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, June 1908


What a generous wood! what a glorious and all-seeing Providence, to provide so liberally for the inhabitants of the Sunset Land! ~W.A. Pryal, “Lumber for Hives: Some Interesting Data on the Way Lumber is being Cut and Exported from this Country; the Giant Trees; California Redwood,” Gleanings in Bee Culture, 1904 August 1st


There may be “sermons in stones and music in running brooks,” but grand indeed is the inspiration to be had as we stand in awe and view the majestic trees of California.... The vastness of these forests can not be realized until one has been within the silent and cathedral-like expanse they form. ~W.A. Pryal, “Lumber for Hives: Some Interesting Data on the Way Lumber is being Cut and Exported from this Country; the Giant Trees; California Redwood,” Gleanings in Bee Culture, 1904 August 1st  [quoting Shakespeare —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


The Sequoias stand listening, watching, searching the sky, looking far off, over the hills, up and down the coast.... In this wild night the redwoods are slipping off their last burned shreds of autumn color, throwing dead branch and needled leaf to the wind; down every bough venturing forth tips of tender green, dreaming in the throbbing dark of a million, minute, kernel blooms.... The wild wet trees stretch out their arms to me. ~Virginia Garland, “The Rain,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908


California’s redwood forests are famous for being home to the tallest living things on the planet, but there’s much more to these extraordinary woodlands than the size of the trees. At their best, redwood forests are suffused with a sense of openness and serenity. Sun-dappled, elegantly fluted tree trunks shoot straight as an arrow into the sky, while below are burbling streams, spectacular fallen trunks, and a lush accumulation of ferns, sorrel, moss, and lichen. ~David Baselt, RedwoodHikes.com


The most beautiful antiques are not found in stores. ~WishHunt.com


To whoever invented fantasy, redwood trees, and apple pie for breakfast: well done. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


A redwood tree sighs, tall, broad, contented. But the aspen tree has itchy feet—as winds blow, it bends, yearning to be a traveling man. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


The scent of rain, as an ancient redwood tree points to the first evening star. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


Easy places in which to lose your mind: bakeries, bookstores, redwood forests, wild gardens. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


Through the branches of a giant redwood tree already two thousand years old floats a magnificent butterfly, whose life is only two weeks. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


Indigo shadows encourage tantalizing gossip in an orchard, while a tall redwood throws poems on the forest floor. The nightlife of trees. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


He stood in stillness in an ancient grove of redwood trees, waiting for a wandering poem to land on him. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


There’s a beach whose waves lap near an ancient grove of redwoods—during a full moon, it throws up wishing shells. Let them lie, he told me. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


[W]hat have we done with our forests? Chopped them, and burned them, and wasted them; and now almost the last of the great stands of timber are here on the Pacific slope. We are in the center of the best of them. Probably nowhere on earth does there exist a forest to compare in continuous grandeur and unqualified beauty with the Redwoods that are found along the Eel River and to the north. ~Madison Grant, “Preserve An America Worth Fighting For,” 1921 August 6th address at the dedication of Bolling Memorial Grove in Humboldt County, California


Death is a low chemical trick played on everybody except sequoia trees. ~J.J. Furnas


Do behold the king in his glory, King Sequoia. Behold! Behold! seems all I can say.... Well may I fast, not from bread but from business, bookmaking, duty doing & other trifles.... I’m in the woods woods woods, & they are in mee-ee-ee.... I wish I were wilder & so bless Sequoia I will be. ~John Muir, from a letter to Jeanne C. Carr, circa autumn 1870, © 1984 Muir-Hanna Trust, University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections


You are yourself a Sequoia.... Stop and get acquainted with your big brethren. ~John Muir to Ralph Waldo Emerson, May 1871


He is likely to remain the one historian of the Sierra; he imported into his view the imagination of the poet and the reverence of the worshipper.... William Kent, during Muir’s life, paid him a rare tribute in giving to the nation a park of redwoods with the understanding that it should be named Muir Woods. But the nation owes him more. His work was not sectional but for the whole people, for he was the real father of the forest reservations of America. ~Robert Underwood Johnson, about John Muir


Acknowledgment:
Thanks to Michael P. Garofalo of The Spirit of Gardening
for sharing a few of these wonderful quotes with me!



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Last modified 2014 Dec 01 Mon 18:10 PST


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