A few weeks ago an old friend asked me a question. Would you rather be an oak tree or a maple tree? My initial reaction was interrupted by an opposing thought, so I answered, “I think that’s something I need to think about before I answer.” Upon giving her my answer a few days later, she said I needed to share my thoughts. So here goes.
A Maple tree is often though of as being beautiful. The great colors often catch your eye. Maple wood is frequently used in decorative furniture, for musical instruments such as violins and guitars. Maple is also used for bowling pins, pool cue shafts and baseball bats. So I guess maple likes to have fun. Maple sap is used to make sugar and syrup. Maples produce a fruit that turns to seed, but it isn’t used as food for others.
An Oak is also used for ornamental purposes. Oaks take longer to grow, by the wood is durable, tough and if you look closely it is attractively grained. Some of the oldest living trees are oaks. Their strength helps them to endure the storms, such as wind and ice. During our recent ice storm the oaks fared much better than some of the other trees. Oak wood is especially valued in shipbuilding and construction for the most durable flooring, furniture, barrels, tool handles & even railroad ties. Oak trees are very resistant to insect and fungal attack. Its strength and durability made it the top choice for the construction of ships, especially navel ships as oak holds up well under attack. The bark of oak trees have been used in medicine. The oak tree produces acorns as fruit. Acorns are a staple in the diet of many woodland creatures. The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance. It has been chosen as the national tree of many countries. Oak leaves symbolize rank in the US armed forces. Arrangements of oak leaves, acorns and sprigs indicate different branches. An oak leaf cluster represents multiple awards of the same medal for a service member. In the Bible, the oak tree at Shechem is the site where Jacob buries the foreign gods of his people (Gen 35:4) Joshua erects a stone under an oak tree as the first covenant of the Lord (Josh 24:25-27) In Isaiah 61 the prophet refers to the Israelites as “Oaks of Righteousness”
So in answer to the question, I don’t think I want to be a Maple. Yes, they are pretty. They are nice to look at and they may be filled with sweet sap. But, I would rather be strong, able to endure the storms of life, protecting others, and providing for them. Yes, I think I’d rather be an Oak.