Thursday 9 July 2015

As old as a tree

My son found some dead flies lying on the windowsill yesterday. He asked my wife what killed all these flies and she told him that flies only live for a few days and then they die "of old age". 

This made me think of trees which can live for hundreds and even thousands of years. To trees we probably look as short lived as the fruit flies look to us. Generations of people are born, live and die during the lifetime of a tree. People can live a long time, some can live a very long time, but even these longest human lives are just blips in lives of trees. 

I think that this is why the word for "ancient, primeval" in Slavic languages is "drevan". It comes from the same root that gave us the word "drvo, drevo, derevo" meaning tree. So "drevan" would then literally mean "as old as a tree"...

I love my language... :)


  1. A good reason to speak of the Tree of Life.

  2. Trees are truly wonderful. The image of a tree from which water flows is also a common motif in the ancient word. Early Church Father spoke of the Cross as the tree of life and noted that water came from Jesus' pierced side. Very interesting. You have given me more to think about. Going to look into the root drvo, drevo, and derevo. Something about it rings a bell.