Today I read: About a beautiful garden

Sometimes it is so difficult to give an appropriate title to a post that I reluctantly write.

The draft session of my blog is full of unfinished stories. I am currently writing about the ancient banyan trees of old Clifton. My speed is slow. I can be easily distracted by thousands of things in my surroundings.

I am also getting timely inspiration from Quora groups. There’s recently in Quora I happened to stumble upon a question that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The question was unique in that sense it was about a beautiful garden…

In a beautiful garden, there is a lonely tree that produces very tasty fruit. Can you guess the fruit?

That’s a very poetic question and the person who asked this also happens to give a stunning explanation.

Here’s a screenshot that I manage to take for reviewing it here.

A pomegrante tree illustration by Walter Crane

I am not good at narrating a story but my quick response was something like…

If I have to illustrate a garden where there is only a lonely tree that tastes heavenly then I would like to take you back to my childhood days where I have left so many memories of beautiful trees behind.

Here, I would like to mention that I am from a South Asian background. And the climate was very hot where I used to live.

This means there was plenty of sunlight and the soil was also good in those old times. In summer with the arrival of the monsoon season, it used to rain a lot continuously for days. (Plenty of water as well)

We used to have a small garden in our house. My father is an ardent lover of fruit trees and he used to plant a variety of plants and vegetables in our old house.

There was right in the middle of our courtyard lies a lonely tree. Sometimes it came into my dreams and put me in a nostalgic state for days. It was a white variety of the pomegranate tree. They tasted very sweet and juicy. It was a very tall and shady tree.

Birds of all kinds were regular visitors of that tree. I remembered a pair of parrots frequently visiting this tree. Not to forget about bees with their buzzing sounds always defending their territory. They had built a hive there and considered the pomegranate tree as their home. I dread to go near that tree because of them. I was just a little school girl back then.

It was lonely in that sense there were no other pomegranate trees nearby to give him company.

Life goes on and we moved to another house but the love for pomegranate trees never dies. We also planted a pair of pomegranates in our new house. Hope I didn’t bore you lol.

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading and enjoying this post.


Also read: It’s a pomegranate time


Sources:

Quora post

Pomegranate illustration

Walter Crane
1845-1915
A Pomegranate Tree. Verso: Fragmentary sketches of two figures
1872
Watercolor and opaque watercolor, over black chalk, on paper; verso: black chalk.


Tree stories: The Olive Trees and the Driftwood

It is an interesting anecdote from ancient times when storytelling was considered an important element of everyday life. It was considered a source of inspiration for the general public gatherings of that bygone era.

The story I am intended to share today is from the life of Mullah Nasruddin Hodja who was a contemporary scholar and wise man of his time.

Olive trees on the hill

The Olive Trees and the driftwood

This is a short story of a farmer who asked a very decent question from Nasruddin whether or not his olive trees would bear fruits in the coming season.

Oh Hodja! Would my olives 🫒 bear this year?

“They will bear,” said the wise old Mullah.

“How do you know?”

“I just know, that is all.”

Upon saying that, he went away


Sometimes later, it’s so happened that the same farmer saw Nasrudin scurrying his donkey along a seashore, looking for driftwood.

(Driftwood is a kind of wood that has been washed onto a shore or beach, lake, or river by the action of winds, tides or waves)

“There is no wood here, Mullah, I have looked,” he shouted.

Some hours later, the same man saw Nasrudin treading his way home, tired out, still without fuel.

On seeing this, the farmer addressed him mockingly.

“You are a man of knowledge, who can tell whether an olive tree will bear or not. Why can’t you tell whether there is wood on a seashore or not?”

Upon this, Nasruddin wisely replied.

“I know what must be,” confessed Nasrudin, “but I do not know what may be.”

Final thoughts:

The term driftwood is used for a person who has difficulty making decisions quickly and firmly. The one who hesitates to take decisions on time. On the other hand, olive tree stands firm and grounded. It symbolize the eternal link between man and the earth.

Driftwood on a beach on a misty day

The driftwood also symbolizes the eternal connection of man with the ocean.

This is the contrast difference between an alive tree versus a dead traveling tree that is just going on with the flow. Finding driftwood depends on many factors as they mostly rely on winds and storms to be swept away on the beaches and shores.

Olive trees mean longevity because they are renowned for living for thousands of years.

On the other hand, driftwood reminds us that they are just woody remnants of dead trees that wind up progressing through rivers, lakes, or oceans.

The phrase I know what must signify a classic example of whatever is meant or predestined to happen will happen as indicated by bearing olives.

But I do not what may indicate uncertainty when you are not sure about something that may happen in the future as in the case of not discovering driftwoods along a seashore on that hot summer day.


Nasreddin Hodja is considered a philosopher, Sufi, and wise old man. He is remembered throughout the Middle East for his witty stories and anecdotes. Usually, there is the joke, followed by a moral message which brings the consciousness on the road to realization.


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My thoughts on the oak tree in the courtyard

I found an oak tree while looking through the window of self-awareness. I was planning to live in the present moment when through the window of my mind, I saw this picture of a gigantic oak tree planted deep inside my mind decades ago.

This giant tree took me back to that state of mind when I was looking for meaning in my life. I was rejected, denied and contradicted for so many lesser reasons. They say I am not good with words but the reality is that words are just words they can’t fully express your deepest emotions. Attached emotions to words and we are back to fantasy. This is how we lose reality.

The oak tree in the courtyard symbolised many things for it’s strength and longevity. This is a sacred tree which pays attention to whatever is happening in the present moment and experiencing it without judgement and conclusion.

An oak tree is a symbol of biological and spiritual nourishment, spiritual growth and transformation.

When a monk asked Zhaozhou, an extraordinary Zen master, about the living essence of zen. His answer was simply remarkable and full of wisdom. He replied by pointing towards an oak tree there in the garden.

“A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the living meaning of Zen?.”

Zhaozhou said, “The oak tree in the courtyard.”

Quote source: Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan) Collection of Zen Koans
The Oak Tree in the Courtyard.

Here, I would like to mention that the Oak tree is believed to be connected to the movements of the planet Mars. It is determined that when the plant Mars comes close to the Earth, it’s supposed to stimulate the roots of the oak. It’s rightly said to be the symbol of fertility and spiritual growth.

Coming close to Mars strengthen the secret connection of the oak tree with the forest where it is growing. Similarly, when Mars went far away, it is the Sun that promotes upward growth causing the Oak to be one of the largest, most influential trees of the world.

Photo credits: Pexels

There is another anecdote from the tales of the oak tree in the courtyard which is worth mentioning here.

A monk asked Chao-chou, “Has the oak tree Buddha nature?”

Chao-chou said, “Yes, it has.”

The monk said, “When does the oak tree attain Buddhahood?”

Chao-chou said, “Wait until the great universe collapses.”

The monk said, “When does the universe collapse?”

Chao-chou said, “Wait until the oak tree attains Buddhahood.

Quote source: The Gateless Barrier, The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan),
Translated by Robert Aitken, Case 37

In both of these anecdotes what does an oak tree stands for? Let’s figure it out.

The oak tree in the Zhaozhou’s yard stands tall and nourishes the ground underneath. It is clearly understood that one should sit like an oak tree with it’s branches truly lost in the sky and it’s roots deeply spread into the ground.

Standing under a mighty shade of an oak tree in the courtyard doesn’t represent our deflecting feelings and beliefs. It teaches us how to overcome hardship in our lives. The awareness about a problem is not a problem itself. But obsession over what we cannot change is the real problem.

Listen closely and you will find out that the monk asked a very profound question from his master. He was seeking an answer of what is the meaning of zen and the master carefully teaches him about mindfulness, living in the present moment. The oak tree here represents the entire universe. When the whole universe is the oak tree, there is no beginning or no end.


Also read: The angel oak tree & The oak tree and the myth


Sources: The oak tree in the garden and Koan website.


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What is the word for the sound of wind in trees?

Today, I am going to tell you an interesting story that I have heard recently. This is a story of a man named Nasruddin who liked to spend some time under a huge oak tree. An oak tree that happened to be near a field of melons.

He used to question himself while resting under the shade of that huge oak tree and mumbled in silence that everyone believes that…

“The Creator has a grand plan, but if I look closely at this majestic Oak tree which has very small acorns as compared to these angular melon plants with their huge bulky fruits. I think the Creator has made a mistake on this one.”

He was just thinking about this that all of a sudden an acorn fell precisely on his nose and he cried in pain by saying that

“Oh my God! Now I understand the wisdom of the Creator!”

The above story has nothing to do with this post but we should remember, that there is always a spiritual message hidden in every moral story. In this story, we learned in a very witty style from a man called Nasruddin that everything on this planet is made on purpose and there is a reason for our existence.


The tree which moves some to tears of joy


Now coming to the real topic, I would like to say that we find comfort only in the beauty of others, in the poetry of others and so we keep on living torn up between the brief explosions of solitude and self-realization which taste like opium, a kind of drug that when excessively taken can give you a blurred vision or sometimes even hallucination.

We are people rinsed by dreams and the tree which moves some to tears of pure joy is in the opinion of others is merely a green thing that stands in their mighty way.

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see Nature as all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all.  But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.”
–  William Blake, 1799, The Letters    

We tend to fall in love with the little things about nature, like the sound of wind in the trees and the way their branches moves over us in a swinging fashion and hence protecting us from the direct rays of sunlight.


What is the word for the sound of wind in trees?


The sound of wind blowing through the trees is mesmerising and have the power to bring our childhood memories back. Through ages, people have invented many words to describe their favourite sounds.

The sound of the wind is so appealing that when it pass or encounter any obstacle, it is known as the Eolian sound as described in Britannica.

Similarly, there is also a word for the sound of wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves. It comes from the Greek word psithuros means whispering.

Psithurism is the word described by many tree enthusiasts when the wind blows through the trees and produced a rustling sound.


This image is designed by using the Canva app.


Psithurism is a very difficult word to pronounce if you are not familiar with silent words. There is an explanation for pronouncing weird words in the English language. It should be kept in mind that “p” at the start of psithurism is silent as can be mostly seen with the words that usually start with “ps”. Hence, the psithurism word is pronounced as sith-err-iz-um.


All conversation begins under the shade of trees.


I like trees in their most vulnerable form when they are busy gossiping happily with their neighbour trees and swaying their branches in full rhythm.

To conclude, I would say that that the powerful way of healing and restoring energy is by listening to the sound of nature. Spending time with trees reduces blood pressure and relieves stress and anxiety as it is rightly said all good conversations begin under the shade of trees.


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Also read: Tree hugging is real and it works

Mango – A wish-granting tree (Part 1)

Getting behind the trees physical and healing properties and understanding of practical qualities is the key to comprehend their unique character.

An esoteric study of trees in folklore and mythology is essential to understand them more extensively and clearly in order to obtain exclusive benefits from them.

By esoteric study, I propose inherently gravitating towards the intellectual side of the trees and appreciating their uniqueness and individuality to such a great extent that it becomes easier to discover more about various cultural aspects of these trees in our folklore and mythology.

To observe trees in their grandest form is always a pleasure and contentment in itself. I should have compiled these anecdotes a decade ago but due to professional loyalties and commitments, I have to abandon that dearest practice of learning about trees a long time ago as an enthusiast.

Today the topic is about idealizing the benefits of a heavenly tree that is very close to the heart of people where it has been growing for centuries. There is no doubt about that the history of the mango tree is as delicious as the taste of mangoes.

Mango – A wish-granting tree

Let’s know about the mythical meaning of the mango trees in folklore and mythology by first emphasizing upon their geographical distribution and significance.

The accumulated global knowledge and information on the majestic mango trees have a tendency to fill many volumes. Even a single story about the mango tree has a propensity to fill many papers. Even a single fact about the mango tree requires comprehensive research and analysis.

So, the sole purpose of this article is to summarize different characteristics of the mango trees that made them so attractive and beneficial along with their various historical meanings and findings in ancient scripts and writings.

Since the Ancient time, mango tree has a great cultural, socio-economic and religious significance in Indo-Pak Subcontinent.

It is seen as a symbol of love and people believe that the mango tree can fulfil our wishes.

The origin of Mango trees

A brief history of mango trees

1. The mango tree is native to South Asian countries and has become one of the most essential fruit crops in the world with the passage of time.

2. The domestication and cultivation of mango trees in Pakistan and India are as old as 4,000 to 6000 years.

This time period in history is known as the Holocene epoch or the age of man. What does that mean?

It was that time when old civilisations were developing such as Indus Valley Civilisation in its Pre Harrapan phase. Also known as an early food-producing era.

3. Chronological records and palaeobotanical science provided interesting information on tree fossils and gave sufficient proof about its origin in the Indo-Burma-Malay region.

Indo is the term used as relating to India. It is mostly used when referring to ancient India which now combines many neighbouring countries especially Pakistan and Bangladesh which was once considered as the part of India.

Old map of India featuring Indo Burma Malay Region

4. Based on the detailed history of the origin of mango trees, it is determined that the native home of common mango (Mangifera indica) was known as Eastern India, Indo-China, Assam and Burma.

5. Scientific fossil evidence indicates that the mango tree made its first appearance even earlier 25 to 30 million years

6. It was Mukherjee who suggested that Mangifera indica first appeared during the Quaternary period.

The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene(2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today).

7. History is mostly guessing and the rest of everything is pure discrimination. Hence, it’s proven from the above data that this celebrated fruit tree has been known to the inhabitants of Indo Pak subcontinent since very early times.

8. The mango tree is discreetly associated with the history of agriculture in Pakistan and one of the earliest known proof of mango trees dated back to Indus Valley Civilization which flourished from around 3000-1500 BCE. It was the time when sugar was not yet known and inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa used natural sweetening methods that mainly came from honey, dates and fruits such as Jamun and mango.

Mango, date palm, banana, guava, and orange are typical fruit-bearing trees cultivated in the Indus valley.

The botanical name of the mango tree

9. Its botanical name is Mangifera indica L. and is the most important species of the genus Mangifera, which produces the most delicious fruit called the mango.

The lustrous journey of mangoes from Aam- kay to manga

11. The mango tree is lucky to have its origin in South Asian countries because of its vast and splendid history but do you know in its native countries, this fruit tree is not known as mango but as aamra or aam. There is no doubt about that the original name of the mango tree is quite different from the one that is spoken now.

12.The earliest known name given to the mango tree was Amra as cited in Dharmashastra and mango fruit is known in those ancient times as Amra-Phalam.

13. This tree is mentioned in old Sanskrit as bearing good fruits. These domestic trees were planted in and near villages by the rulers of those ancient empires.

14.The mango tree was also present at the time of Indus valley civilization and used as an alternative of sugar.

15. Starting from the Urdu speaking regions, it is widely acknowledged as Aam ka darakht (the mango tree).

16. In Northern and Southern regions of Punjab (Pakistan) where Urdu and Punjabi are the well-spoken languages, the tree is called aam ka darakht or mango fruit is equivalent to aam ka phal.

17. The tree then migrated to the other side of the border on the southern plains of India where predominantly Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil languages further altered the names of mango in the form of aam, ambha, Amra, respectively.

18. In Hindi language, it is also known as aam and fruit is aam-phal.

19. In the Tamil language, the kaay word is used instead of phal. So, with the diversity in spoken languages, aam phal is referred to as aam kaay.

20. Aam-kaay gradually transformed into man-kaay or maam-kaay owing to the differences in pronunciation and because of use of different accents.

21. Man-kaay is a Dravidian word which is also understood as one of the oldest known languages of South Asia. Man means mango tree and kaay word is used for fruit.

22. Now comes the Malayalam language which plays a substantial role in reshaping the name of aam to its modern form.

The Malayali people further changed this name mamkay or mangai to Maanga.

23.The mangoes were undoubtedly introduced to the modern world by the Portuguese on their arrival to Kerala, India.

24. The mango fruit was not known to Europeans until the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama in 1498 in Calicut, a port town in the Malabar coast of Kerala, India.

25. It was the untiring efforts of Portuguese who then adopted the Malayalam word maanga in Portuguese and introduced it to the rest of the world. How? Now here comes an interesting anecdote that I have heard about a long time ago.

26. The story goes like that one of the Portuguese who landed in Calicut happened to write to his British friend and boasted that they have found a new fruit in India which is known as manga. It was those golden days when the letter was written by hand and the typewriter was not invented at that time. The British friend out of curiosity read the name as mango, not by mistake at all. Most of the Portuguese words ended in “o” such as avocado, potato, tomato, tobacco and so on. Therefore, this is how the word mango entered the English dictionary.

27. The French variation of this name is mangue.

28. The European countries were introduced to this fruit during their spice trade with Indo Pak subcontinent in the 15th and 16th centuries.

29. It was the crucial stage in the history of mangoes in regard to the popularity of these trees. How?

It was in the Mughal era that the Portuguese are said to introduce vegetative propagation methods in India for the first time to clone superior mono-embryonic trees in the 15th Century.

Who is the first person to bring the mango to the attention of the ancient world?

30. Hsüan-Tsang appears to be the first person to bring the mango to the notice of people outside India.

Megasthenes and Hsiun-Tsang, the earliest writer-travellers to ancient India, wrote about how the ancient Indian kings, notably the Mauryas, planted mango trees along roadsides and highways as a symbol of prosperity.

They also wrote about the incredible taste of the fruit, bringing the mango to the notice of people outside India. 

The custom of bestowing titles

31. In ancient India, there was a custom of the ruling class to bestow titles on prominent people by using names of mango varieties.



Thank you for reading.


Lovers of pine

Lovers of pine is a Japanese folktale about two lovers that become two young pine trees by sitting under a shade of an old pine tree.



It happened in ancient times when the capital of Japan was still the city of Nara. (Nara, located around 30 km south of modern Kyoto, was the capital of ancient Japan between 710 and 784 CE.)

There lived a young man named Iratsuko and a girl named Iratsume. They were both very beautiful people which caused many people to gossip about them.

“It would be good if the Iratsuko and Iratsume fell in love,” people would say.

But the two of them didn’t notice each other at all. Iratsuko heard what people were saying but he only waved his hand while Iratsume only smiled as she continued on her way.

One evening while the people of the village were staging a big celebration they gathered in the forest glade and began to sing, dance and compose poems.

Then the young man approached Iratsume.

“Turn to look at me,” he asked her. “You are beautiful, like a young pine. Give me some sign that you love me.”

“Do not befit me to listen to such speeches,” she said blushing. “I confess however that I have loved you for a long time. People noticed us, which lead to conversations which in turn made me curious.”

Then everyone began to eavesdrop on their conversation.

“When are you going to be married?” the people called.

“Leave us in peace. Do not look at us, do not touch us” Iratsuko said with anger as he grabbed the girl by the hand and ran into the forest.

“It’s not like we hurt them,” the people said shaking their head. “We were just happy at their good fortune in finding each other at last.”

The two lovers ran into the woods and sat down under an old pine tree.

“Those people never give you a moment’s peace,” Iratsuko snarled.

“It’s true, people are forever sticking their noses into others business,” Iratsume agreed.

It was dark and quite, with only the moon in the sky for light and the gentle sound of the leaves falling from the trees. The two of them sat up all night by the old pine and didn’t notice that morning had come. When the sun rose over the mountain they looked around, they could hear roosters in the distance and a dog barking.

“Let’s go back to the village,” Iratsuko said, but as he tried to rise he found that he was rooted to the ground.

“I’ll help you!” Iratsume exclaimed, but her feet were rooted to the ground as well.

“What’s happened to us!?” the two lovers exclaimed in surprise.

Meanwhile the rest of the villagers came into the forest to search for Irasuko and Iratsume. And lo and behold at the edge of the woods they found two young pine trees. The people gasped when they saw these pines.

“Look, look! It’s Iratsuko and Iratsume. They have turned into pine trees,” the people cried.

Iratsume and Iratsuko heard this and grew frightened for they realized that they must surely have become pine trees.  So they were now two pine trees at the edge of the forest. Sometimes farmers come into the woods and sit under them while asking, “How are you my pretty Iratsume? And is Iratsuko feeling well?”

That’s when the pine creaks and the pines wave and the tree seems to say. “Again you break our peace! We get no salvation from you. Do not look at us, do not touch us.”

So the farmers sigh and eventually go away. So the pine Iratsume is called “do not look at me,” and the pine Iratsuko is called, “do not touch me.”



Source:

Japanese Fairy Tale

THE BOASTFUL BAMBOO

A folklore from Fuji

Beneath the gleaming snows of Fuji lay a great forest.

There many giant trees grew, the fir, the pine, the graceful bamboo, and the camellia trees.

The balmy azaleas and the crinkled iris bloomed in the shade.

The blue heavens were fleecy with snowy clouds, and gentle zephyrs caressed the blossoms and made them bow like worshipers before a shrine.

Side by side there grew two bamboo trees.

One of these was tall, strong, and stately; and he reared his haughty head to heaven and bowed not to the North Wind as he passed.

The other was a slender bamboo, so slight and delicate that it swayed with every breeze, and moaned with fright when a storm swept down the wrath of the mountain.

The children loved the graceful bamboo, and named her Silver Mist; but the big bamboo looked down upon her with scorn.

“You bend and bow to every breeze. Have you no pride? It is not fitting that a bamboo should show fear. I stand straight and strong and bow to no one,” he said.

“You are going to be of some great use in the world, I am sure,” said the humble bamboo. I am only fit to trim the houses for the New Year’s feast. But you will become a beam in some great house or, maybe, even in a palace.”

“Do not think I shall be only that,” cried the boastful bamboo with a scornful laugh. “I am indeed intended for something great. I think I shall be chosen for the mast of a mighty ship. Then will the wings of the ship swell with the breeze, and it will fly over the ocean and I shall see strange lands and new peoples.

All men will behold me and will say, ‘See the stately bamboo which graces yonder junk!’ As for you, poor timorous one, you are not even brave enough to deck the New Year’s feast. You will be used to make mats for people to tread under foot.

The slim little bamboo did not answer back. 

She only bent her head and cried bitterly. The flowers felt sorry for her and breathed their soft perfume about her to comfort her.


As the days went by the slim bamboo grew prettier, and the children loved her more and more. They played beneath her waving branches, they made flower chains and garlands and hung them from her boughs.

“See,” they cried in childish glee. “This is the Lady Silver Mist. Let us tie a flower around her slender waist;” and they bound a girdle of flowers about her.


One day there came woodmen to the forest, and they chopped down many of the trees, trampling the grass and the flowers under foot.

When they saw the big bamboo they said,

“Here is a tall, straight tree. It will do for a mast. We will cut it first.”

“Good-by,” said the boastful bamboo to the slender one.

“I am going to see the world and do great things. Good-by, child, I hope you will not be used to make rain coats.

When I am on the bright and beautiful sea I shall remember and pity you!”

“Good-by,” sighed his little comrade. “Good fortune go with you.”

The big bamboo was cut down, and the hillside saw him no more.

When, however, the woodmen came to the little tree, they smiled to see it so beautifully garlanded with flowers and they said,

“This little tree has friends.”

Then the children took courage and ran to the woodcutters and cried,

“Pray do not cut down our tree! In all the forest we love it best. It is the Lady Silver Mist and it has been our playmate for many moons.”

“You must dig it up and bear it away if you wish to save its life,” said the chief woodman. “We are sent to this forest to clear it, so that a grand palace may be built upon the hillside where all is so fair and beautiful.”

“Gladly will we root her up and take her to our home,” answered the eldest child; and very carefully they dug her up, not destroying even a single root, for the woodman helped them, so kind was he and of a good heart.


They placed the slim bamboo in a lovely garden beside the sea, and she grew fair and stately and was happy. All around was calm and beautiful.

The sea waves lapped the coral strand. By day, the sun shone on the tawny sands and turned them to gold; the sky was blue as a turquoise, and pearly clouds floated across it like shadowy angel’s wings.

By night the moon goddess rose in silvery beauty and bathed the garden in light; it kissed the leaves of the bamboo, until the dew sparkled upon them like diamonds in a setting of silver.

Fragrant flowers bloomed at the bamboo’s feet: irises from their meadow home, azaleas, rare lotus lilies, and a fringe of purple wistaria wafting its breath in friendship upon her.

Here she grew in strength and grace. All things were her friends, for she gave to all of her sweetness; and to the winds she bowed her head.

“Great North Wind,” she said gently, “how thou art strong!” And to the South Wind she said, “How sweet and kind thou art!” To the flowers she gave shade and to the children, who still loved her, companionship.

 


One night she shivered and bowed her head very, very low, for there came a storm from the sea, a storm so fierce and wild as to frighten her very soul.

The waves of the sea tossed the white foam heavenward; they rose up in giant walls of fury until ships sunk in the troughs between and were dashed to pieces.

The beach was strewn with wrecks, and when daylight came, Lady Silver Mist gazed upon the scene.

She recognized her old friend, the great bamboo, prostrate upon the ground, while all around him lay bits of the junk over which he had reared his haughty head.

“Alas! my poor friend!” she cried. “What a sad fate is yours! Would that I could aid you.”

“No one can help me,” he replied with a moan. “Would that I had been made into a common coolie pole with which to push a country junk!

Then might I have been useful for many years! No, my heart is broken, Silver Mist. Farewell.”

He gave a long shuddering sigh and spoke no more. Soon some men who came to clear up the wreckage, chopped the mast up for firewood; and that was the end of the boastful bamboo.


Source:

Japanese Fairy Tales

8 Amazing Facts About The Angel Oak Tree

1. The Angel Oak Tree is located on St. John’s Island, South Carolina, and is one of the state’s most visited landmarks.

2. It is said that the Southern Live Oak could be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi coming in at over 500 years old!

3. The tree is estimated to be 400–500 years old.

4. The Angel Oak Tree derives its name from the estate of Justus Angel and his wife, Martha Waight Tucker Angel.

5. Local folklore tells stories of ghosts of former slaves appearing as angels around the tree.

6. Angel Oak was damaged severely during Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but has since recovered.

7. The City of Charleston has owned the tree and surrounding park since 1991.

8. The Angel Oak features prominently in the book The Heart of A Child by Emily Nelson.

Source:

History of angel oak tree

Everything you need to know about angel oak tree

The tree which is known as the god of fire

 Tree profile:

    Common Names: Coral tree, Indian Coral tree
    Scientific Names: Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma
    Family: Fabaceae
    Subfamily: Faboideae
    Local Names: Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Palas, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree, kesu, gule nishter
    Origin: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
    Plant Characteristics: Woody. No latex, aromatic flowers, (Trifoliate) Compound leaves, have alternate arrangements of leaves.

An interesting introduction to the Coral tree  (Dhaak/ Palash tree)

You may or may not know me but I am a tree native to tropical and subtropical regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, to name a few ones.

People of these countries adore me so much that they love to call me by different names in their local languages and dialects.

I am a small-sized dry season, deciduous tree. It simply means that I can shed my leaves when the autumn dawns. I can grow up to 15 m (49 ft) tall. I admire my striking height. Though I limped sometimes.

Scientifically, I am known as Butea monosperma throughout the world as it is my botanical name. I am also described in some textbooks as Butea frondosa so please don’t get confused if someone mentions me by this name. It’s my synonym.

I have so many related names but for the lack of time, I would like to mention a  few of them to keep the momentum going. I have compiled a list of some of my favorites.

In English speaking countries, I am known as bastard teak or parrot tree.

In the Hindi language, I am entitled to be known as chichra tasu, desuka, Palash, chalcha, Kankrei, etc.

 

To begin with,  I am widely acknowledged as the flame of the forest or flame tree because of my vibrant personality. It’s an interesting read. I am prized for my flowers which take on a fascinating look in late spring due to the orange-red hue of my flowers.

For this reason, I am symbolized as the color of love in South Asian cultures and also known to be assumed as a first sign for the arrival of spring.

Notoriously, I am recognized as the bastard teak because of my striking resemblance with the teak tree in having the same features such as hard durable wood.

Where am I located? I am currently blooming proudly in the salt ranges of Pakistan. Here, I am locally known as Chahchra or Dhaak.

This image is taken from Dawn.com

 

I possess the ability to endure elevated amounts of salt in the soil and withstand extreme changes in weather. Hence, I am widely distributed in the salt ranges of Pakistan or can also be seen growing easily in coastal areas of my country.

Palash (which means a flowering tree) is another splendid name that has become my recognition in my neighbor country. They even named their newborn baby boys with my name to show their affection for me. I feel so honored and blessed.

Some say the town of Palashi in West Bengal adopts its name from the Palash tree. (Note: The town was famous for the historic battle of Plassey fought there). What a great way to tribute this tree!

A parrot tree is another pleasant name that is bestowed on me. I am so intricately designed that my stunning orange-red flowers appear before the leaves. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings, and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this beak-shaped keel that lends me the name of Parrot Tree.

 

You might have heard of that popular Urdu proverb, “dhaak k teen paat” which comes from the prominent three leaflets shape of this tree.  The phrase means efforts leading to no results.

Despite being known as a prized tree by nature enthusiasts or Hakeem, I receive little interest from the general public.

Fated to be named as the flame of the forest, I am now mostly regarded as an ornamental tree.

The reason for the decline of these trees in rural areas is because the inhabitants here do not prefer to plant new saplings of these species. After all, they considered these trees to be slow-growing.

Sadly, a little has been done to preserve this magnificent tree. It was known to thrive in abundance in the salt ranges of Kohistan.  But now the number has been dramatically decreased with time due to the constant need for its wood to use as fuel.

This tree is humbly requesting you to craft ways to protect it from vanishing from its beloved country.

How can we protect the Dhak tree from extinction?

It has been real injustice to this kind of tree. It grows even on dead mountains, does so well in salty soils, and proves to be an incredible host to lac Insects.

Now, it’s time to give the due credit and affection to these Dhak trees.


Here are some ways to conserve this tree for future generations to come.

1. Write more about native trees/ Awareness plays a critical role in the protection of native trees.

2. Plant new saplings of this species.

3. Be a nature enthusiast. Or be a tree enthusiast to be more precise.

4. Come and visit this tree when it is naturally blooming in the spring season.

5. Go to your local nursery and obtain information about this tree.


Fast five medicinal uses about Butea monosperma

1. It is a potent astringent used in the treatment of diarrhea.

2. The seeds of Butea monosperma when mixed into a paste with honey are used for their antihelmintic, antifungal, anti-bacterial properties.

3. The seeds contain about 18% oil. Known as moodoga oil which is an effective treatment for hookworms.

4. The flowers of this tree are used in the treatment of liver disorders.

5. The flowers contain butrin and isobutrin. These combinations have been shown to have antihepatotoxic properties.


Precautions should be taken to use these herbal medicines. Don’t use these products on your own or without legal permission from authorized personnel.

The “medicinal uses” mentioned here is only for general knowledge.  Not to be applied practically without legal authorization or without being approved from the concerned field.


Thank you for reading and highlighting my work. I frequently write for trees and think about them in my happy time. Please visit my blog and do comment on my posts for offering me a little dose of encouragement that I rarely receive.


This post is originally shared on Medium. Visit this link to read more about tree stories.


29 interesting facts about Shajarat al-Hayah (Tree of life)

“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

1. A lonely tree

There is a tree alone in the middle of a desert in Bahrain, that legitimately stands with its roots deep in the sand.

2. The time forgotten story of Shajarat al Hayah

This tree is locally known to us as the “Shajarat al-Hayah” and its alternative name in English is ” The Tree of Life”.

No one expected this tree to live or survive for such a long period of time, yet it has through God’s Will.

3. The king of desert

The Tree of Life in Bahrain is almost 9.75 meters (32 feet) high. It is called Shajarat al Hayat in its native Arabic language.

It has gone on thriving with the ideal height of 32 feet in the extreme temperatures and lack of freshwater resources. This is why it is known as the king of desert in many parts of the world.

4. It is over 400 years old

It is a Prosopis cineraria tree that is over 400 years old. 

It is an evergreen tree that can grow very well in a harsh climate and is well adapted to arid conditions.

5. It’s roots are 50 meters deep

Its roots are 50 meters deep, which is more than enough to reach the water.

6. The well-developed root system

The root system of this tree is long, deep and well developed, securing a firm footing and allowing it to obtain moisture from the groundwater.

7. It is a Mesquite tree

Its a mesquite tree. They may have one or multiple trunks with a multitude of branches. Its leaves are full of color with a green tint and it is remarkable for being existing for so long.

As one person explained,

“The reason people think its beautiful is because it has no right to be there.”

8. A Hardy, drought-tolerant tree

If we study the properties of this tree to understand it more comprehensively then it is quite evident that this is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant tree because of its remarkable ability to draw water from the water table through its long taproot system.

9. Availability of water

However, it can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability.

10. Ability to switch water resources

The tree can easily and rapidly switch from utilizing one water source to the other.

11. Native trees can grow rapidly and quickly

Mesquite trees can grow quickly and furnish shade and wildlife habitat where other trees will not grow.

12. Regeneration ability

It is also said that such a tree can even regenerate from a piece of root left in the soil.

13. A magical green spot in the desert

This tree of life is surrounded by the sea endless oilfields, and if you witness it from a distance then it appears like a magical green spot in the desert.

14. Low hanging branches to withstand hot winds and dry seasons

The tree has several low hanging branches that spread out in all directions as you can notice from various pictures of this tree. Why it is so? To easily withstand hot winds & dry seasons and shows considerable drought hardiness. 

15. It stabilizes shifting sand dunes

Because of its extensive root system, it stabilizes shifting sand dunes and is also useful as a wind-break. 

16. Folk remedies and uses of this border

It yields pale to yellow colored resin with properties similar to that of gum acacias and can be extracted which is used to make candles and aromatic gums and the seeds of this tree are processed into jams.

 17. Boosting tourism to its peak

It has gradually become a local tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of travelers every year.  

If you want to know why “the tree of life” is still surviving all alone in this oddity. Read more.

18. It is claimed that the closest water resource is about 2 kilometers away

There are many theories regarding how this tree is surviving in isolation with not any close companion. Some scientists claim that it is surviving because of the closest water source is an underground stream about 2 kilometers away.

19. By absorbing moisture from the surrounding

Others assume that it gets its water supply from the breezes from the Persian Gulf. By absorbing moisture from the surrounding.

20. Extracting water from the grains of sand

There is another claim which suggests that it has learned how to extract water from grains of sand. Quite possible.

21. It has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria

It has a symbiotic relationship with some bacteria that allow it to fix nitrogen in the soil. Hence, improving soil fertility and quality.

22. This area was once considered as the Garden of Eden

According to local inhabitants, there is a belief that this area was once considered as the Garden of Eden. And this myth verifies how the ancient inhabitants started naming it as the tree of life.

23. It is claimed that this tree is protected by Enki, known as a god of water

There are also some decorative beliefs revolving around this Tree of Life. One of them says that the area was once the Garden of Eden, and the tree is growing by some mystical blessing. It is also claimed that it is protected by Enki, a god of water according to the Babylonian and Sumerian religions.

24. This tree was nominated for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

In 2009, the tree was nominated for the New seven wonders of Nature list, but it did not make it to the final.

25. Recently, 500 years old pottery was discovered in the vicinity of the tree

In October 2010, archaeologists unearthed 500-year-old pottery and other artifacts near proximity of the tree.

26. The tree of life was an Acacia planted in 1582

A soil and dendrochronology investigation accomplished in the 1990s concluded that the tree was from the family of Acacia which was planted in 1582.

27. Estimating the age of tree by ring analysis

A soil and tree ring analysis conducted now more than 20 years ago. It was made possible by historian Dr. Ali Akbar Bushiri who concluded that the Tree of Life was planted in 1582 AD.

28. It was Fenced off in 2007

It was fenced off in 2007 after being targeted by vandals. An iron fence has been put around to protect the tree from being worshipped as it is considered sacred for being rumored as to be linked to the Garden of Eden.

29. Bearing the marks of ancient civilization and the wrath of a new era

The tree bears marks of graffiti and extensive damage has been done to it’s branches by vandals and youngsters who carve love messages on it’s trunk to immortalized their love as well.

29 interesting facts about Shajarat al-Hayah (Tree of life)

“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

1. A lonely tree

There is a tree alone in the middle of a desert in Bahrain, that legitimately stands with its roots deep in the sand.

2. The time forgotten story of Shajarat al Hayah

This tree is locally known to us as the “Shajarat al-Hayah” and its alternative name in English is ” The Tree of Life”.

No one expected this tree to live or survive for such a long period of time, yet it has through God’s Will.

3. The king of desert

The Tree of Life in Bahrain is almost 9.75 meters (32 feet) high. It is called Shajarat al Hayat in its native Arabic language.

It has gone on thriving with the ideal height of 32 feet in the extreme temperatures and lack of freshwater resources. This is why it is known as the king of desert in many parts of the world.

4. It is over 400 years old

It is a Prosopis cineraria tree that is over 400 years old. 

It is an evergreen tree that can grow very well in a harsh climate and is well adapted to arid conditions.

5. It’s roots are 50 meters deep

Its roots are 50 meters deep, which is more than enough to reach the water.

6. The well-developed root system

The root system of this tree is long, deep and well developed, securing a firm footing and allowing it to obtain moisture from the groundwater.

7. It is a Mesquite tree

Its a mesquite tree. They may have one or multiple trunks with a multitude of branches. Its leaves are full of color with a green tint and it is remarkable for being existing for so long.

As one person explained,

“The reason people think its beautiful is because it has no right to be there.”

8. A Hardy, drought-tolerant tree

If we study the properties of this tree to understand it more comprehensively then it is quite evident that this is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant tree because of its remarkable ability to draw water from the water table through its long taproot system.

9. Availability of water

However, it can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability.

10. Ability to switch water resources

The tree can easily and rapidly switch from utilizing one water source to the other.

11. Native trees can grow rapidly and quickly

Mesquite trees can grow quickly and furnish shade and wildlife habitat where other trees will not grow.

12. Regeneration ability

It is also said that such a tree can even regenerate from a piece of root left in the soil.

13. A magical green spot in the desert

This tree of life is surrounded by the sea endless oilfields, and if you witness it from a distance then it appears like a magical green spot in the desert.

14. Low hanging branches to withstand hot winds and dry seasons

The tree has several low hanging branches that spread out in all directions as you can notice from various pictures of this tree. Why it is so? To easily withstand hot winds & dry seasons and shows considerable drought hardiness. 

15. It stabilizes shifting sand dunes

Because of its extensive root system, it stabilizes shifting sand dunes and is also useful as a wind-break. 

16. Folk remedies and uses of this border

It yields pale to yellow colored resin with properties similar to that of gum acacias and can be extracted which is used to make candles and aromatic gums and the seeds of this tree are processed into jams.

 17. Boosting tourism to its peak

It has gradually become a local tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of travelers every year.  

If you want to know why “the tree of life” is still surviving all alone in this oddity. Read more.

18. It is claimed that the closest water resource is about 2 kilometers away

There are many theories regarding how this tree is surviving in isolation with not any close companion. Some scientists claim that it is surviving because of the closest water source is an underground stream about 2 kilometers away.

19. By absorbing moisture from the surrounding

Others assume that it gets its water supply from the breezes from the Persian Gulf. By absorbing moisture from the surrounding.

20. Extracting water from the grains of sand

There is another claim which suggests that it has learned how to extract water from grains of sand. Quite possible.

21. It has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria

It has a symbiotic relationship with some bacteria that allow it to fix nitrogen in the soil. Hence, improving soil fertility and quality.

22. This area was once considered as the Garden of Eden

According to local inhabitants, there is a belief that this area was once considered as the Garden of Eden. And this myth verifies how the ancient inhabitants started naming it as the tree of life.

23. It is claimed that this tree is protected by Enki, known as a god of water

There are also some decorative beliefs revolving around this Tree of Life. One of them says that the area was once the Garden of Eden, and the tree is growing by some mystical blessing. It is also claimed that it is protected by Enki, a god of water according to the Babylonian and Sumerian religions.

24. This tree was nominated for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

In 2009, the tree was nominated for the New seven wonders of Nature list, but it did not make it to the final.

25. Recently, 500 years old pottery was discovered in the vicinity of the tree

In October 2010, archaeologists unearthed 500-year-old pottery and other artifacts near proximity of the tree.

26. The tree of life was an Acacia planted in 1582

A soil and dendrochronology investigation accomplished in the 1990s concluded that the tree was from the family of Acacia which was planted in 1582.

27. Estimating the age of tree by ring analysis

A soil and tree ring analysis conducted now more than 20 years ago. It was made possible by historian Dr. Ali Akbar Bushiri who concluded that the Tree of Life was planted in 1582 AD.

28. It was Fenced off in 2007

It was fenced off in 2007 after being targeted by vandals. An iron fence has been put around to protect the tree from being worshipped as it is considered sacred for being rumored as to be linked to the Garden of Eden.

29. Bearing the marks of ancient civilization and the wrath of a new era

The tree bears marks of graffiti and extensive damage has been done to it’s branches by vandals and youngsters who carve love messages on it’s trunk to immortalized their love as well.


Thank you for reading and highlighting my work. I frequently write for trees and think about them in my happy time. Please visit my blog and do comment on my posts for giving me a little dose of encouragement that I rarely receive.


To walk under a huge banyan tree

Love for trees is a biological process and as long as we are alive, the longing for staying close to nature resides within us in various forms and shapes. I feel great affection for trees because they represent age and beauty along with the countless blessings of life and growth.

Here, I would like to excerpt a fascinating story about a man lasting love for trees from the city of Lahore that I have read about a decade ago. I read it from an online newspaper source by the name Daily Times. The purpose of sharing this story is to realize the importance of trees in our folklore and traditions.

Trees are an integral and valuable part of our natural and cultural heritage.  When we even look at our history, our literature and poetry, our music and art, we discover trees as a fundamental element of our identity and expression.  

This story as narrated by Abdul Hameed who was a renowned novelist and short story writer of his time. He was also particularly remembered for writing a prominent children’s TV play Ainak Wala Jin for Pakistan Television Corporation which used to broadcast on PTV during the mid-1990s.

Abdul Hameed used to write a column every week based on his memories of old Lahore in a very pleasant and storytelling style. He started writing a column for Daily Times newspaper on a weekly basis in his native Urdu language. His recollections of old Lahore in the mid-1950s or early years of independence (as we called this a golden era) should be appreciated greatly because of the fact that such proactive writing is rare in our literature. Moreover, we should also not forget the exceptional work of Khalid Hasan who is the person behind the translation of these masterpieces into English without losing any of the original composition and rhythm.

This story is about an undying love for Banayan Trees. It is believed that between two banayan trees lies a doorway to a new world or heaven.

There are two ways to read this story either by browsing here or by purchasing this book of 266 pages from any reliable sources that you usually prefer such as

LAHORE LAHORE AYE: Lahore radio’s lovesick trees
By A Hamid

(As narrated by Abdul Hamid in his weekly column for Daily Times and willingly translated into English by Khalid Hassan.)

I was associated with the Lahore radio station for close to forty-five years as a staff artist. My friendships were mostly with singers, composers and instrumentalists.

Those radio years gave me the opportunity to get to know artists who had few, if any, equals.

They were such nice people also, seldom asking anyone to share their burdens, which were considerable.

They were people of such childlike simplicity that even minor things would make them happy.

They were also very tender-hearted and sometimes a single note of music would bring tears to their eyes.

The famous sarangi player, I remember was Ustad Ghulam Muhammad of Kasur, who had accompanied some of the most famous classical singers of those times.

He would always accompany Lahore’s great classical vocalist Ustad Kalay Khan. In his later years, he had come to be associated with the Lahore radio station, which afforded me an opportunity to observe him closely.

He was thickset and his hair had disappeared except over his temples. He had a peculiar walk, weighted somewhat to one side.

The station had moved into its new building by now. Behind the canteen, they had set up the central production unit and the recording studios where classical, semi-classical and Punjabi folk music was recorded.

The musicians associated with the central production unit were a separate group, and they included Ustad Ghulam Muhammad.

He would also, when needed, provide accompaniment to performances being broadcast or recorded for the main station.

To go from the central production unit to the main station, you had to walk under a huge banyan tree.

Ustad Ghulam Muhammad would always look up at the tree’s thick branches when passing under it.

There was another banyan tree facing the engineering rooms, which was not so thick-leafed as the big one.

The two trees were a hundred, maybe, a hundred and fifty yards apart.

“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

Ustad Ghulam Muhammad once said, as we sat in the canteen sipping tea, that the tree next to the central production unit was female and the one facing the engineering rooms was male.

“When the wind blows, that is when the two of them make contact. They are very much in love with each other,” he told us. We loved his childlike talk – a hallmark of the Ustad’s personality.

It so happened that the engineering people decided to build a few more rooms but this could only be done if the smaller banyan tree was chopped down.

Little did they know or care about male and female trees and so they sent for men who began to hack the tree down.

When Ustad Ghulam Muhammad learnt what was going on, he rushed to the chief engineer’s office, begging him not to bring down the tree.

He argued that if this tree, which was a male was cut down, someone would lose his life. But he failed to convince him.

The tree was brought down and construction got underway. I witnessed all that with much sadness.

Now whenever Ustad Ghulam Muhammad would pass under the remaining tree, he would look up and say, “Its mate is dead; this one is not going to survive long.”

While the tree did not die, Ustad Ghulam Muhammad did.

It happened one day when he was walking under the lone tree. He shuddered, fell to the ground in a heap and died.

Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.” ― Victor Hugo

The symbolization of Banayan tree in relation to this story

“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

Love for trees is a natural process and as long as we are alive, the longing for staying close to nature resides within us in many forms and shapes. I feel great affection for trees because they will teach us what we cannot learn from all the educators of the world.

While the tree did not die, Ustad Ghulam Muhammad did.

It’s indeed a heartbreaking story of a man profound commitment for trees and how he cared for them and worried about their protection when he used to walk under the shade of these trees.

That banayan tree did not die because of the fact that it represents longevity and immortality in South Asian culture. It has a notorious attitude of surviving for centuries regardless of its surroundings.

It is believed that between two banayan trees lies a doorway to a new world or heaven. This is because of the fact that banyan tree in our culture represents eternal life and everlastingness.

To walk under a huge banyan tree

Love for trees is a biological process and as long as we are alive, the longing for staying close to nature resides within us in various forms and shapes. I feel great affection for trees because they represent age and beauty along with the countless blessings of life and growth.

Here, I would like to excerpt a fascinating story about a man lasting love for trees from the city of Lahore that I have read about a decade ago. I read it from an online newspaper source by the name Daily Times. The purpose of sharing this story is to realize the importance of trees in our folklore and traditions.

Trees are an integral and valuable part of our natural and cultural heritage.  When we even look at our history, our literature and poetry, our music and art, we discover trees as a fundamental element of our identity and expression.  

This story as narrated by Abdul Hameed who was a renowned novelist and short story writer of his time. He was also particularly remembered for writing a prominent children’s TV play Ainak Wala Jin for Pakistan Television Corporation which used to broadcast on PTV during the mid-1990s.

Abdul Hameed used to write a column every week based on his memories of old Lahore in a very pleasant and storytelling style. He started writing a column for Daily Times newspaper on a weekly basis in his native Urdu language. His recollections of old Lahore in the mid-1950s or early years of independence (as we called this a golden era) should be appreciated greatly because of the fact that such proactive writing is rare in our literature. Moreover, we should also not forget the exceptional work of Khalid Hasan who is the person behind the translation of these masterpieces into English without losing any of the original composition and rhythm.

This story is about an undying love for Banayan Trees. It is believed that between two banayan trees lies a doorway to a new world or heaven.

There are two ways to read this story either by browsing here or by purchasing this book of 266 pages from any reliable sources that you usually prefer such as

LAHORE LAHORE AYE: Lahore radio’s lovesick trees
By A Hamid

(As narrated by Abdul Hamid in his weekly column for Daily Times and willingly translated into English by Khalid Hassan.)

I was associated with the Lahore radio station for close to forty-five years as a staff artist. My friendships were mostly with singers, composers and instrumentalists.

Those radio years gave me the opportunity to get to know artists who had few, if any, equals.

They were such nice people also, seldom asking anyone to share their burdens, which were considerable.

They were people of such childlike simplicity that even minor things would make them happy.

They were also very tender-hearted and sometimes a single note of music would bring tears to their eyes.

The famous sarangi player, I remember was Ustad Ghulam Muhammad of Kasur, who had accompanied some of the most famous classical singers of those times.

He would always accompany Lahore’s great classical vocalist Ustad Kalay Khan. In his later years, he had come to be associated with the Lahore radio station, which afforded me an opportunity to observe him closely.

He was thickset and his hair had disappeared except over his temples. He had a peculiar walk, weighted somewhat to one side.

The station had moved into its new building by now. Behind the canteen, they had set up the central production unit and the recording studios where classical, semi-classical and Punjabi folk music was recorded.

The musicians associated with the central production unit were a separate group, and they included Ustad Ghulam Muhammad.

He would also, when needed, provide accompaniment to performances being broadcast or recorded for the main station.

To go from the central production unit to the main station, you had to walk under a huge banyan tree.

Ustad Ghulam Muhammad would always look up at the tree’s thick branches when passing under it.

There was another banyan tree facing the engineering rooms, which was not so thick-leafed as the big one.

The two trees were a hundred, maybe, a hundred and fifty yards apart.

“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

Ustad Ghulam Muhammad once said, as we sat in the canteen sipping tea, that the tree next to the central production unit was female and the one facing the engineering rooms was male.

“When the wind blows, that is when the two of them make contact. They are very much in love with each other,” he told us. We loved his childlike talk – a hallmark of the Ustad’s personality.

It so happened that the engineering people decided to build a few more rooms but this could only be done if the smaller banyan tree was chopped down.

Little did they know or care about male and female trees and so they sent for men who began to hack the tree down.

When Ustad Ghulam Muhammad learnt what was going on, he rushed to the chief engineer’s office, begging him not to bring down the tree.

He argued that if this tree, which was a male was cut down, someone would lose his life. But he failed to convince him.

The tree was brought down and construction got underway. I witnessed all that with much sadness.

Now whenever Ustad Ghulam Muhammad would pass under the remaining tree, he would look up and say, “Its mate is dead; this one is not going to survive long.”

While the tree did not die, Ustad Ghulam Muhammad did.

It happened one day when he was walking under the lone tree. He shuddered, fell to the ground in a heap and died.

Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.” ― Victor Hugo

The symbolization of Banayan tree in relation to this story

“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

Love for trees is a natural process and as long as we are alive, the longing for staying close to nature resides within us in many forms and shapes. I feel great affection for trees because they will teach us what we cannot learn from all the educators of the world.

While the tree did not die, Ustad Ghulam Muhammad did.

It’s indeed a heartbreaking story of a man profound commitment for trees and how he cared for them and worried about their protection when he used to walk under the shade of these trees.

That banayan tree did not die because of the fact that it represents longevity and immortality in South Asian culture. It has a notorious attitude of surviving for centuries regardless of its surroundings.

It is believed that between two banayan trees lies a doorway to a new world or heaven. This is because of the fact that banyan tree in our culture represents eternal life and everlastingness.


Thank you for reading and highlighting my work. I frequently write for trees and think about them in my happy time. Please visit my blog and do comment on my posts for giving me a little dose of encouragement that I rarely receive.


110 interesting facts and quotes about trees


Do you know a large oak tree can consume about 100 gallons of water per day, and a giant sequoia can drink up to 500 gallons of water on a daily basis?

Trees, undoubtedly, are the major source of oxygen to the planet Earth but it is also an undeniable fact that they silently provide us with plenty of others benefits as well such as food, timber, and shelter to mention a few of them.

Can you believe, it is the custom in many countries of the world to develop some sorts of bonding between themselves and trees. People all around the world have that belief of hanging objects (usually a piece of cloth or paper) on the branches of trees so that they can wish upon them in order to achieve their desired goals.



If you get a chance to read the ancient Egyptian tale of two brothers from at least 3000 years ago then you will realize that how our lives are intermingled and depend upon the trees in so many stunning ways and how ruthlessly our lives suffer when a tree withers or is mistreated. In this story, one of the brothers, to clarify his loyalty to the other brother positioned his heart on the blossom of the cedar tree ( some says it is an accacia tree) and eventually died when that specific tree is cut down.

Here’s a huge collection of fascinating quotes and sayings about trees to understand the deepest meanings of trees as others have perceived and beautifully conveyed to us the message of their love for trees in an artistic style.


Let’s begin


1. “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, 1817 – 1862



2. “Around a flowering tree, one finds many insects.”

– Proverb from Guinea


3. “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?”

– Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road



4. “God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!” ”

– Joseph Campbell



5. “Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root.”

– Malay proverb


6. “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

– Chinese proverb



7. “I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”

– Willa Cather (1873-1947), O Pioneers 1913


8. “Do not be afraid to go out on a limb … That’s where the fruit is.”

– Anonymous


9. At night I dream that you and I are two plants

that grew together, roots entwined,

and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth,

since we are made of earth and rain.

Pablo Neruda, Regalo de un Poeta


10. “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


11. “Of the infinite variety of fruits which spring from the bosom of the earth, the trees of the wood are the greatest in dignity.”

– Susan Fenimore Cooper



12. “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

13. “The groves were God’s first temples.”

– William Cullen Bryant, A Forest Hymn


14. “From a fallen tree, all make kindling.”

– Spanish proverb


15. “If a tree dies, plant another in its place.”

– Linnaeus



16. “A tree falls the way it leans.”

Bulgarian Proverb


17. “And see the peaceful trees extend

their myriad leaves in leisured dance—

they bear the weight of sky and cloud

upon the fountain of their veins.”

– Kathleen Raine, Envoi


18. “Oak trees come out of acorns, no matter how unlikely that seems. An acorn is just a tree’s way back into the ground. For another try. Another trip through. One life for another.”

– Shirley Ann Grau


19. “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


20. “When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike you with the presence of a deity?”

– Seneca


21. “What kind of times are they, when

A talk about trees is almost a crime

Because it implies silence about so many horrors?”

– Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born Later


22. “That each day I may walk unceasingly on the banks of my water, that my soul may repose on the branches of the trees which I planted, that I may refresh myself under the shadow of my sycomore.”

– Egyptian tomb inscription, circa 1400 BCE


Sycomore trees were held to be sacred in ancient Egypt and are the first trees represented in ancient art.


23. “That tree whose leaves are trembling: it is yearning for something.

That tree so lovely to see acts as if it wants to flower: it is yearning for something.”

– Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1395


24. “And you, how old are you?

I asked the maple tree:

While opening one hand,

– he started blushing.”

– Georges Bonneau, Le Sensibilite Japonaise, 1935



25. “In an orchard there should be enough to eat, enough to lay up, enough to be stolen, and enough to rot on the ground.”

– James Boswell


26. “The patient. – The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait: and both without impatience: – they give no thought to the little people beneath them devoured by their impatience and their curiosity.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow, # 176.


27. “There are two trees, each yielding its own fruit. One of them is negative….it grows from lack of self-worth and its fruits are fear, anger, envy, bitterness, sorrow – and any other negative emotion. Then there is the tree of positive emotions. Its nutrients include self-forgiveness and a correct self concept. Its fruits are love, joy, acceptance, self-esteem, faith, peace…and other uplifting emotions.”

– Kathi’s Garden


28. “Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence.”

– Kim Taplin, Tongues in Trees, 1989, p. 14.


29. “A tree does not move unless there is wind.”

– Afghan Proverb



30. “This solitary Tree! a living thing

Produced too slowly ever to decay;

Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed.”

– William Wordsworth, Yardley Oak


31. “John Clare, in his poem To a Fallen Elm, makes the tree a selfmark as well as a landmark.”

– Tim Fulford, The Politics of Trees


32. “Time-honored, beautiful, solemn and wise.

Noble, sacred and ancient

Trees reach the highest heavens and penetrate the deepest secrets of the earth.

Trees are the largest living beings on this planet.

Trees are in communion with the spiritual and the material.

Trees guard the forests and the sanctified places that must not be spoiled.

Trees watch over us and provide us with what we need to live on this planet.

Trees provide a focal point for meditation, enlightenment, guidance and inspiration.

Trees have a soul and a spirit.”

– Tree Magick by Lavenderwater


33. “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 fiber 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


34. “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

– Dr. Suess



35. “Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.”

– Bill Vaughan


36. “To be able to walk under the branches of a tree that you have planted is really to feel you have arrived with your garden. So far we are on the way: we can now stand beside ours.”

– Mirabel Osler


37. “Tree of Liberty: A tree set up by the people, hung with flags and devices, and crowned with a cap of liberty. The Americans of the United States planted poplars and other trees during the war of independence, “as symbols of growing freedom.” The Jacobins in Paris planted their first tree of liberty in 1790. The symbols used in France to decorate their trees of liberty were tricoloured ribbons, circles to indicate unity, triangles to signify equality, and a cap of liberty. Trees of liberty were planted by the Italians in the revolution of 1848.”

– E. Cobham Brewer, The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1894


38. “Tall thriving Trees confessed the fruitful Mold:

The reddening Apple ripens here to Gold,

Here the blue Fig with luscious Juice overflows,

With deeper Red the full Pomegranate glows,

The Branch here bends beneath the weighty Pear,

and verdant Olives flourish round the Year.”

– Homer


39. “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.

Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”

– Hal Borland, Countryman: A Summary of Belief



40. “Trees are the best monuments that a man can erect to his own memory. They speak his praises without flattery, and they are blessings to children yet unborn.”

– Lord Orrery, 1749


41. ” Trees serve as homes for visiting devas who do not manifest in earthly bodies, but live in the fibers of the trunks and larger branches of the trees, feed from the leaves and communicate through the tree itself. Some are permanently stationed as guardians of sacred places.”

– Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 117, Nature Devas


42. “A tree never hits an automobile except in self-defense.”

– Author Unknown


43. “A garden without trees scarcely deserves to be called a garden.”

– Henry Ellacombe


44. “Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,

We fell them down and turn them into paper,

That we may record our emptiness.”

– Kahlil Gibran


45. “Hmmm … we chop down trees and chop up wood.”


46. “Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance climbed up through my conscious mind as if suddenly the roots I had left behind cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood – and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.”

– Pablo Neruda


47. “The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


48. “Evolution did not intend trees to grow singly. Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor or hermit.”

– John Fowles


49. “We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which without stint produces strengthening essences for us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent and intimate hours.”

– Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Regrets, 1896


50. “Many a genius has been slow of growth. Oaks that flourish for a thousand years do not spring up into beauty like a reed.”

– George H. Lewis, 1817 – 1878


51. Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”

– J. Willard Marriott



52. A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.

– George R.R. Martin


53. “The sacred tree, the sacred stone are not adored as stone or tree; they are worshipped precisely because they are hierophanies, because they show something that is no longer stone or tree but sacred, the ganz andere or ‘wholly other.’ ”

– Mircea Eliade, Myths, Dreams and Mysteries


54. “The beauty of the trees,

the softness of the air,

the fragrance of the grass,

speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,

the thunder of the sky,

speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,

the trail of the sun,

the strength of fire,

and the life that never goes away,

they speak to me.

And my heart soars.”

– Chief Dan George


55. “He who plants a tree, plants a hope.”

– Lucy Larcom, Plant a Tree


56. “A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for posterity.”

– Alexander Smith


57. “In the religion of the Medes and Persians the cult of trees plays an important part, and with them, as with Assyrians, the symbol of eternal life was a tree with a stream at its roots. Another object of veneration was the sacred miracle tree, which within itself contained the seeds of all.”

– M. L. Gothein, A History of Garden Art, 1928


58. “May my life be like a great hospitable tree, and may weary wanderers find in me a rest.”

– John Henry Jowett


59. “The woods are full of faeries!

The trees are all alive;

The river overflows with them,

See how they dip and dive!

What funny little fellows!

What dainty little dears!

They dance and leap, and prance and peep,

And utter fairy cheers!”

– Anonymous


60. “And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

– Ezekiel 47:12


61. “Sensing us, the trees tremble in their sleep,

The living leaves recoil before our fires,

Baring to us war-charred and broken branches,

And seeing theirs, we for our own destruction weep.”

– Kathleen Raine, London Trees


62. “There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”

– Minnie Aumonier


63. “Among archetypal images, the Sacred Tree is one of the most widely know symbols on Earth. There are few cultures in which the Sacred Tree does not figure: as an image of the cosmos, as a dwelling place of gods or spirits, as a medium of prophecy and knowledge, and as an agent of metamorphoses when the tree is transformed into human or divine form or when it bears a divine or human image as its fruit or flowers.”

– Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden, 1998, p 128


64. “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln



65. “I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth’s 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, 1886-1918, Trees

66. “What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?”

– Pablo Neruda


67. “There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded up plots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of the cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly … survives without sun, water and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.”


68. “God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”
– John Muir

69. Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

– Martin Luther (1483-1546)



70. “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, Threat


71. “A well maintained landscape with mature trees can increase property values up to 25 percent. Trees can cool houses in the summer. A city lot with 30 percent plant cover provides the equivalent cooling necessary to air condition two moderately sized houses 12 hours a day in the summer.”

The Value of Trees Around Your Home


72. “There are those who say that trees shade the garden too much, and interfere with the growth of the vegetables. There may be something in this:but when I go down the potato rows, the rays of the sun glancing upon my shining blade, the sweat pouring down my face, I should be grateful for shade.”

– Charles Dudley Warner


73. “It is good to know the truth, but it is better to speak of palm trees.”

Arab Proverb



74. “I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”

– Robert Frost, Birch Trees


75. “The talking oak

To the ancient spoke.

But any tree

Will talk to me.”

– Mary Carolyn Davies


76. “They are beautiful in their peace, they are wise in their silence. They will stand after we are dust. They teach us, and we tend them.

– Galeain ip Altiem MacDunelmor


77. “The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'”

– As told by John F. Kennedy


78. “Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people’s hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way.”

– Langya


79. “If a tree is treated as a living organism, with an understanding of its vital functions, it will be a constant source of profit and pleasure to men.”

– N.T. Mirov


80. “By gathering seed from trees which are close to our homes and close to our hearts, helping them to germinate and grow, and then planting them back into their original landscapes, we can all make a living link between this millennium and the next, a natural bridge from the past to the future.”

– Chris Baines


81. “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


82. “Approaching a tree we approach a sacred being who can teach us about love and about endless giving. She is one of millions of beings who provide our air, our homes, our fuel, our books. Working with the spirit of the tree can bring us renewed energy, powerful inspiration, deep communion.”

– Druid Tree Lore and the Ogham


84. “Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel.”

– Aldo Leopold


85. “Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”

– Winston Churchill



86. “The best friend of earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.”

– Frank Lloyd Wright


87. “Thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them:for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life)…”

– Deuteronomy 20:19


88. “If we represent knowledge as a tree, we know that things that are divided are yet connected. We know that to observe the divisions and ignore the connections is to destroy the tree.”

– Wendell Berry


89. “Bread and butter, devoid of charm in the drawing room, is ambrosia eaten under a tree.”

– Elizabeth Von Antrim


90. “Some trees serve multiple purposes: the baobab in Africa, the mulberry in China, the coconut palm in the tropics.”



91. “Evil enters like a needle and spreads like a oak tree.”

– Proverb from Ethiopia


92. “The bud is on the bough again,

The leaf is on the tree.”

– Charles Jefferys, The Meeting of Spring and Summer


93. “Trees can reduce utility bills (air conditioning in summer, heating in winter) when planted properly: Heating: Using trees as windbreaks allows savings of 10% – 20%. Cooling: Shading windows and walls can lower AC costs by 25% – 50%.”

The Benefits of Planting Trees


94. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

– Nelson Henderson



95. “The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”

– Buddhist Sutra


96. “The evergreen! How beautiful, how welcome, how wonderful the evergreen! When one thinks of it, how astonishing a variety of nature! In some countries we know that the tree that sheds its leaf is the variety, but that does not make it less amazing, that the same soil and the same sun should nurture plants differing in the first rule and law of their existence.”

– Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814


97. “If I thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should nevertheless plant a tree today.”

– Stephan Girard


98. “They took all the trees

And put them in a tree museum

And they charged all 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

Till it’s gone.

They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot.”

– Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi


99. “Some men go through a forest and see no firewood.”

– English proverb


100. “A tree is our most intimate contact with nature.”

– George Nakashima, woodworker



101. “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


102. “Alone with myself

The trees bend

to carress me

The shade hugs

my heart.”

– Candy Polgar


103. “Whoever does not love trees, does not love God.”

– Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (1888-1970)


104. “The oldest living thing in existence is not a giant redwood, but a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, dated to be aged 4,600 years old.”

– Plants and Botany Trivia



105. “Trees help you see slices of sky between branches, point to things you could never reach.

Trees help you watch the growing happen, watch blossoms burst then dry, see shade twist to the pace of a sun, birds tear at unwilling seeds.”

– Rochelle Mass, Waiting for a Message


106. “The best friend of earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.”

– Frank Lloyd Wright


107. “Spirituality automatically leads to humility. When a flower develops into a fruit, the petals drop off on its own. When one becomes spiritual, the ego vanishes gradually on its own. A tree laden with fruits always bends low. Humility is a sign of greatness.”

– Sri Ramakrishna


108. “A tree is a tree – how many more do you need to look at.”

– Ronald Reagan, California Governor



109. “It’s one thing not to see the forest for the trees, but then to go on to deny the reality of the forest is a more serious matter.”

– Paul Weiss


110. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.


A sufi saint under the shade of a tree

Baba Farid with his disciples sitting under the shade of a tree.

Baba Sheikh Farid Ji was a great Sufi saint, very sweet of tongue and who lived an austere life. He asked for only one blessing from God….a life of prayer and meditation.
His following insight forms the subject of this painting ,

“Sweet are candy, sugar, honey, and buffalo’s milk. Yea, sweet are these but sweeter by far is God.”

In this painting, you can see him pointing at the beehive.

References:
Baba Farid was a 12-th century Sufi preacher and saint of Chishti Order, from Punjab. He was born at Kothiwal (or Khotwal) in the district of Multan. He is recognised as the first major poet of the Punjabi language. Baba Farid is considered one of the holiest and pivotal saints of the Punjab region.

If you want to know more about him, check out these sites:
Life of Baba Farid
Baba Farid

Trees in our folktales

This is a painting by Sabir Nazar showing Heer Ranjha in heaven.

In this painting, Ranjha is riding a buffalo (with its udders full of milk, it symbolizes mother earth). Casually sitting on the broad haunches of the buffalo and playing a tune on the flute, Ranjha symbolizes man’s creativity. He is also a passionate and loyal lover.

And the tree in this image symbolizes eternity.

Heer Ranjha is the most widely read folktale of Pakistan. It is one of the most popular tragic romances of the Punjab about Heer [an extremly bold and beautiful woman] and Ranjha [an adventurous young man] along the banks of River Chenab.

Ranjha comes to Heer’s village where she offers him the job to take care of the cattle. Heer becomes mesmerized by the way Ranjha playes flute and they fall in love. Heer’s jealous uncle Qaido catches them and Heer is forced to marry another man “Saida Khera”. She elopes with Ranjha and eventually gets caught and poisoned by Qaido. Ranjha wails and mourns as Heer’s grave opens and Ranjha lies beside her in an eternal embrace.
You can read the full details of the story here.

Trees have always been considered sacred and get a prominent place in our folktales. And in this folktale, Ranjha is often shown under the shade of a tree playing a flute and taking care of Heer’s cattle. Eventually, Heer becomes mesmerized by the way Ranjha plays his flute and falls in love with him.

No doubt, Sabir Nazar has beautifully illustrated this scene.

Sabir’s first show was held in 1995 at Lahore Art Gallery, featuring a mixed collection of works. Sabir started his career as a cartoonist working for Friday Time in 1991 and designed the famous three horses in Defense. His work revolves around social and symbolic subjects and his cartoons affect his paintings to a great extent, which highlight political changes.


Image credited by:

Heer ranjha by Umair Ghani

To walk under a huge banyan tree

Love for trees is a natural thing but here I will share with you a fascinating story from the heart of Lahore. I have read it in the Daily Times, now I am sharing it here.
Its about love for trees, its about love for Banyan Trees.You can read the full article here.

LAHORE LAHORE AYE: Lahore radio’s lovesick trees
By A Hamid

I was associated with the Lahore radio station for close to forty-five years as staff artist. My friendships were mostly with singers, composers and instrumentalists. Those radio years gave me the opportunity to get to know artists who had few, if any, equals. They were such nice people also, seldom asking anyone to share their burdens, which were considerable. They were people of such childlike simplicity that even inconsequential things would make them happy. They were also very tender-hearted and sometimes a single note of music would bring tears to their eyes.

The famous sarangi player, I remember was Ustad Ghulam Muhammad of Kasur, who had accompanied some of the most famous classical singers of those times. He would always accompany Lahore’s great classical vocalist Ustad Kalay Khan. In his later years, he had come to be associated with the Lahore radio station, which afforded me an opportunity to observe him closely. He was thick set and his hair had disappeared except from over his temples. He had a peculiar walk, weighted somewhat to one side. The station had moved into its new building by now. Behind the canteen, they had set up the central production unit and the recording studios where classical, semi-classical and Punjabi folk music was recorded. The musicians associated with the central production unit were a separate group, and they included Ustad Ghulam Muhammad. He would also, when needed, provide accompaniment to performances being broadcast or recorded for the main station.

To go from the central production unit to the main station, you had to walk under a huge banyan tree. Ustad Ghulam Muhammad would always look up at the tree’s thick branches when passing under it. There was another banyan tree facing the engineering rooms, which was not so thick-leafed as the big one. The two trees were a hundred, may be, a hundred and fifty yards apart. Ustad Ghulam Muhammad once said, as we sat in the canteen sipping tea, that the tree next to the central production unit was female and the one facing the engineering rooms was male. “When the wind blows, that is when the two of them make contact. They are very much in love with each other,” he told us. We loved his childlike talk – a hallmark of the Ustad’s personality.

It so happened that the engineering people decided to build a few more rooms but this could only be done if the smaller banyan tree was chopped down. Little did they know or care about male and female trees and so they sent for men who began to hack the tree down. When Ustad Ghulam Muhammad learnt what was going on, he rushed to the chief engineer’s office, begging him not to bring down the tree. He argued that if this tree, which was a male was cut down, someone would lose his life. But he failed to convince him. The tree was brought down and construction got underway. I witnessed all that with much sadness. Now whenever Ustad Ghulam Muhammad would pass under the remaining tree, he would look up and say, “Its mate is dead; this one is not going to survive long.” While the tree did not die, Ustad Ghulam Muhammad did. It happened one day when he was walking under the lone tree. He shuddered, fell to the ground in a heap and died.


A Hamid, the distinguished Urdu novelist and short story writer, writes a column every week based on his memories of old Lahore. Translated from the Urdu by Khalid Hasan

Peshawar, the city of gardens, fast losing its glory

Peshawar, the city of gardens, fast losing its glory
By Adeel Saeed


Taken From::
Associated Press of Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Oct 18 (APP): Known as the city of roses, gardens and fragrance in history, Peshawar is fast losing its glory due to manifold increase in population and urbanization.

Almost all the historians and rulers have described Peshawar in their memoirs as the ‘City of Gardens and Roses’, but the historic gardens have either vanished or reduced to nominal with the passage of time.

Mughal Ruler, Zaheer-ud-Din Babar in his book Tuzk-e-Babari wrote that in 1519 when he passed through Bagram (old name of Peshawar), the city was known for its beautiful gardens and colourful flowers.

Monstuart Elphinstone, the first British who visited Peshawar in 1809 as Attach in Afghan cabinet, was quoted in book ‘The Pathans’ by Sir Olf Caro that he was greatly surprised with the scenic beauty of Peshawar.

Even the famous Chinese pilgrim and historian, Shin Fa Hian and Hiuen Tsang, who travelled in this area 400 BC had mentioned gardens and some trees including the great Banyan (Bargad) tree at the present site of Shah Ji Ki Dheri in their books, informed Ehsan Ali Curator NWFP Archaeology department.

According to Hiuen Tsang, Ehsan continued, the branches of the Banyan tree were thick and the shade beneath, sombre and deep. The famous stupas built by Kanishka to the south of the Bargad tree have also disappeared.

Another historic tree dating back to the Kanishka period was cut down recently in Ander Shehr. The Chowk Yadgar building was demolished for widening of the road.

Some of the gardens mentioned in Peshawar District Gazetteer published in 1933 now do not exist. One such example is ‘Old Panj Tiraths’ where building of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce stands today. Some signs of Old Panj Tiraths are still visible at presently Chacha Younas Park or Family Park.

According to ‘Peshawar Historic City of the Frontier, written by prominent historian and archaeologist Dr. Ahmad Hassan Dani, as the name indicates, there are five holy bathing places or ‘tirthas’, shaded by some sacred ancient Bargad trees. The site was a place of great veneration to Hindu community.

According to another book ‘Gardens of Peshawar’ written recently by a local journalist, Imran Rasheed, there were about 28 gardens in Peshawar named by different rulers of the area.

Some of the gardens still exist, but majority of them have vanished with the passage of time.

Imran Rasheed’s book gives complete details about gardens, parks and green pastures of Peshawar and reasons for their destruction. He also blamed Sikh rulers who ruled Peshawar from 1823 to 1849 for destruction of Peshawar gardens.

The Sikhs ruthlessly destroyed gardens of Peshawar which were later revived by British rulers, he writes in his book.

“The gardens were not only used by Peshawarites for recreational activities, but were also the place of literary and cultural gatherings where poets from across NWFP gathered and open-air Mushairas were held,”

commented Aftab Ahmad office bearer of Gandhara Hindko Board working for promotion and preservation of Hindko language and Hindkowan culture

The Gandhara Board, he continued, is arranging grand open-air gathering in different parks as part of its regular activity with the objective of reviving the old practice, Aftab added.

Dr. Adil Zareef, Executive Director Sarhad Conservation Network (SCN), an NGO working for conservation of nature, stresses for active lobbying by civil societies for preservation of existing gardens.

Peshawar, he said, had been the cradle of civilizations and a centre for trade for the past 2000 years. Now its dwellers have lost the old beautiful city, creating a huge social and cultural vacuum.

He said stress should be laid on preservation of existing gardens including Wazir Bagh, Shahi Bagh, Dabgari garden, Jinnah Park, Khalid Bin Walid Park, Kushal Bagh and others.

District Nazim Peshawar, Haji Ghulam Ali said that apart from rapid increase in population, influx of Afghan refugees destroyed Peshawar gardens. He said arrival of millions of Afghan refugees caused unprecedented urbanization in the city.

He informed that district government is focusing on reviving of the lost heritage of Peshawar city. He said he has also requested the archaeologists and environmentalists for guidance in this regard.

The district government is presently working on restoration of old gates and historic city wall, he said and added that district government is restoring the main green belt of Peshawar along G.T road and would soon reopen the historic Shakhi Chasma for Peshawarites.

Old Banyan trees near Golra junction railway station


Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum is located at Golra junction railway station near Islamabad, some 1,994 feet above sea level, in the southeast of the Margalla Hills and east of the cradle of Gandhara civilization, the ancient city of Taxila.The station was established in 1882 and upgraded as junction in 1912, connecting Peshawar, Kohat and Havalian. The museum contains many heritage valuables but it lacks the necessary written information about the things put on display, their historic significance and the number of years they have been in use.

But this small classic railway station is very well maintained with all the surrounding area still reminding of the good old days and simple layout especially the majestic banyan trees guarding the main structure from both sides. The trunks of these Banyan trees are painted white. The trees not only provide the much-needed shade but also are home to a number of birds. The atmosphere is serene to the extent that one can sit under these trees throughout the day listening to the chirping birds and occasional typical song of doves.

The century old Banyan trees have been ignored at the heritage point even though they give a majestic look to the museum. Its a need to preserve them.

Buddhist banyan tree in Islamabad

There is a centuries old banyan tree standing in Sector E-7 of Islamabad. The tree is a sacred relic for Buddhists who believe that one of their great monks briefly stayed and worshiped in its shade and blessed it with long-lasting life. The tree was said to have some historic significance for Buddhists and attracted visitors and even tourists from Japan and South East Asia. But now it is noticed several times that some people tried to burn it and had chopped most of its branches. I have taken this bit of news from The daily Times and it is three years old news.