Saturday, July 30, 2011

Trees of Wisdom - Pine

This blog is not just about trees but since I have written about some tree families, the descriptions would be incomplete without a mention of the Pine tree family (Pinaceae) and its close relatives cedars, firs and spruces, before I move on to other topics. These are amongst the oldest of trees on earth, long lasting companions of mother Earth. The oldest tree on earth is perhaps a spruce in Sweden that is about ten thousand years old. These are trees that bear cones instead of fruits and flowers and have needles instead of leaves.

To my mind a mountain valley landscape is incomplete without this tree. Nothing adds more grace, beauty, joy and wisdom to the surroundings. The usefulness of this tree for its wood and turpentine are well known. Its nuts are a delicious food source. Young new pine needles added to tea add vitamins C and A to the drink.

If a pine tree is cut down for commercial use please ensure that at least two more are planted to replace it. Not all trees survive into adulthood. If a tree is procured for Christmas then make sure it is dried later and the wood used as firewood. If that cannot be done then it is better to buy or prepare a live potted Christmas tree that can be planted out in the forest in spring.

When considering trees to plant on mountain slopes in order to prevent land slides and soil erosion the pine is not the best but other trees like Oak do a far better job of it . On such slopes the pine may be mixed in with other leafy trees to add bio diversity. The use of pine forests must also be restricted in areas prone to dry summers and forest fires. While trees of warm areas keep them cool by spreading out and broad leaves that block the sun's rays from reaching ground, pines grow in colder areas and warm the earth through their needle like leaves and narrow shape.

A tree while it lives and after it is cut down spends its life in service of all other life by providing oxygen, food, shelter, beauty, peace and energy. In return for that it accepts humbly and gratefully whatever nature and other life grants. All trees especially long lived ones like pines illustrate the beauty, peace and joy that service to other life brings as opposed to merely selfish activity that some life may perhaps indulge in and some pseudo-philosophers like Ayn Rand attempt to justify. Such philosophers make pathetic and futile attempts to over come the inner voice and guilt as well as depression that inevitably follows selfishness as opposed to happiness produced through selfless activity. If other parts of nature such as trees followed the same selfish philosophy such humans would not survive for an instant.

This photo is a public domain image from


Vincent said...

Oddly enough, Ashok, I had a book which represented the facts about trees in a way rather similar to what you have written here about the pine, the oak, etc, with emphasis on legends and spiritual properties, the Druids and so on. One day I decided that this book, together with several others that I'd been given by someone dear to me, was just taking up space on my shelves.

I can remember the themes of two of the other books. One was about being a man, and its title was something like Iron John. Again, it had to do with legends as well as more modern facts. The third was about "why people don't heal", where "heal" was used as an intransitive verb. This was the one which annoyed me the most, as it described how some people clung to their illnesses unconsciously and couldn't get better. I had been suffering from a chronic illness myself for many years, and so the book enraged me for its presumption. Long after I got better in some mysterious miraculous way, I still didn't find the book illuminating.

So one day I gathered up a set of these annoying books and donated them to a charity shop. Otherwise I would have sent you the tree book. Its subject-matter & intent is very close to yours here.

Vincent said...

I’ve found those three books in Amazon, Ashok.

Why People don't heal and how they can, by Caroline Myss

Iron John, a book about men, by Robert Bly

Tree Wisdom: The definitive guidebook to the myth, folklore and healing power of Trees by Jacqueline Memory Wilson

I tried hard with all of them because they were given as gifts by someone dear. But I seem to be allergic to their messages of hidden wisdom and do-goodery!

ashok said...

Hello Vincent. i am aware of your allergy to do goodery messages and perhaps also the source from which they might arise (some early Christian stuff)

Thanks for the references Vincent. Actually at the present time my primary interest was the trees only but I included the other stuff in keeping with the theme of the blog and for the benifit of several silent readers who visit this blog for the purpose.

As regards why people do not heal for long periods and at times heal suddenly, even miraculously or through a very simple cure is something I have observed again and again in life. I have understood it as the workings of the Karma principle - that we are fated to undergo a suffering or the reverse/ a certain joy for prescribed periods as determined by our karma. When the karma is exhausted then the suffering or joy disappears near miraculously.

The reverse happens to when we find ourselves landing in joyous circumstances suddenly when the time has come for a good karma to unfold.

I understand that you are sceptical of any such karmic principles that cannot be proved by the existing sciences. I on the other hand keep my mind open to things that cannot be proved by science as well but have been described by many and then look for evidence of it by direct and inner experience/reflection. That way I have come to accept many things that go beyond science such as the principle of karma.

ashok said...

Vincent you may recall that we discussed the theory of panspermia earlier. According to it genes of life travel across planets. If we were to classify planets with more evolved life as heavenly relative to earth then the heavenly tree genes may be the almond family (including peach, apricot) and the rose family that icludes strawberry and apples. I am not certain though about the oak and the pine tree families. Perhaps those genes too have arrived from slightly supeior planets or perhaps not since they are widespread and may easily exist on similar planets.