I’m quite fond of trees. You might even say that I identify with them. To celebrate their arborial grandness, and to follow up on the squirreliness of last week’s list, I bring you a Themed Thing list of Trees.
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. This beloved book features Truffula trees, and is a parable (?) about the impact of excessive deforestation, industrialization and consumerism. The Lorax is a little creature who voices the warnings. “I speak for the trees.”
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. A book about a boy, who takes serious advantage of a generous tree. The tree gives, and the boy/man takes and takes. And takes. Till all that’s left of the tree is a stump. And this is supposed to be a moving tale of generosity. An environmentalist friend of mine from college once said of it, “I think it’s misguided.”
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a coming of age novel by Betty Smith.
The Tree of Man, a novel by Australian Author (and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature), Patrick White.
tree-hugger: A term used to refer to environmentalists, especially those who look to protect forests. Sometimes used pejoratively, but embraced by others.
Arbor Day A holiday for planting and caring for trees. And maybe for hugging them. In the US, it’s celebrated in April. (The next one is April 25th, 2008. Only 168 shopping days left.)
Christmas Tree A possibly Pagan-derived holiday tradition of decorating a tree with ornaments and lights and such. Usually a pine tree.
syntactic trees (tree structures) Diagrams representing hierarchical structure are often described as trees. People studying syntax spend a fair amount of time drawing tree diagrams of sentences.
family tree The tree is used as a metaphor to describe relationships within a family, especially when drawing a diagram of relatedness.
Trees are prominent in mythologies and foklore from many cultures, including many variations on a mystic Tree of Life.
Dryads, tree nymphs (or wood nymphs) from Greek mythology. They are among the magical creatures to be found in the Chronicals of Narnia. See also “The Dryad”, a story be Hans Christian Anderson
In Greek Mythology, Daphne is turned into a laurel tree while trying to escape the clutches of an amourous Apollo.
The Ents, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. Big tree people.
“Shaking the Tree”, an album by Peter Gabriel. Also a song with Youssou N’dour. [YouTube]
“barking up the wrong tree” An idiom alluding to a dog chasing a cat up a tree, but mistaking the location of said cat. It means “acting based on some mistaken impression”
“can’t see the forest for the trees”An expression to describe when someone is too caught up in the details to understand the larger context.
Then there’s the playground chant:
A German woodcut of a family tree, the Yggdrasil, and The Dryad by Evelyn De Morgan
X & Y sitting in a tree