Trees are beautiful, bountiful, and essential. Their benevolent presence is both a necessity and an intangible gift; we need the oxygen they produce, and we benefit from their steadfast, magnanimous presence in other ways, too. Spending time with our tall green neighbors can reduce stress levels, return us to the present moment, and bring a sense of peace and quiet into our busy modern lives. In Japan, there’s even a name for the practice of energetically cleansing and grounding oneself by walking in the woods: shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.
Trees also filter our ground water and purify the air, while providing habitats for many species, beautifying communities, and cooling summer streets. They even store carbon and provide food, and all they ask in return is space to grow so they can offer their many gifts. People who love trees can find solace among their quiet leafy friends most anywhere in the world. In the 14 quotes below, tree-lovers explain why they will return to the forest again and again throughout their lives.
Trees — especially old trees — have a strong and definite individuality, well worthy of the name of a soul.
— C.W. Leadbeater, English spiritual writer
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 emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
— Herman Hesse
He that planteth a tree is the servant of God, he provideth a kindness for many generations and faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.
— Henry van Dyke, American writer and clergyman
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
— Mary Oliver
I have come to admire resilience… the sinuous tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side, it turns in another… But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers, mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.
— Jane Hirshfield
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.
— Ancient Chinese proverb
I frequently tramped eight or 10 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
Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
— Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American writer and artist
I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.
Poems are made by fools like me but only God can make a tree.
— Joyce Kilmer, American writer
The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.
— John Muir
Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. The forests condition the climate, the climate influences the character of the people, and so on, and so forth.
— Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
— Martin Luther
The tree is where everything in the cosmos comes into, and the cosmos reveals itself to me through a tree. Therefore, a tree, to me, is a cathedral, and I can take refuge in the tree.
— Thích Nhất Hạnh
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