Day Twenty-Four: The Best Time to Plant a Tree

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

I know that’s Hallmark-card wisdom, but I ran across it a while back, and it actually hit me at the right time in my life to make a difference. Out of the mouths of babes and fake woodburned signs at one of those weird home decor stores, I guess.

Have you ever gone into those stores? Have you ever bought anything in one? I’ve seen them my whole life, but I’ve never seen a human being in one of them shopping. I’ve certainly never seen anyone leave them with a purchase.

The best time to plant a tree is probably not late January.

There seems to be some confusion about where the saying comes from, but odds are good it’s not Canada, or at least not Canada for about five months of the year. This is a terrible time to plant a tree. If a Canadian had written that proverb, it would read

“The best time to plant a tree  was 20 to 20.5 years ago, depending on the current season. The second best time is now, plus or minus up to six months, again depending on season and current weather conditions.”

There’s a reason there aren’t a lot of Canadian proverbs.

But we get the spirit of the thing, right? It’s a “today is the first day of the rest of your life,” kind of deal, but built on a foundation that leans a little more towards “well, you kind of fucked this up, but better to start unfucking thing now than never, I guess” in spirit.

Okay, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s kind of a bummer saying. It’s really predicated on the fact that there have been a ton of missed opportunities.

What’s wrong with “It’s never too late to plant a tree” or just “the best time to plant a tree is now”?

Welp, you really shoulda done this two decades ago, but I guess you can get on it now, sucker.

Thanks for nothing, saying.