Though it seems to be steeped in meaning, according to lyricist/drummer Neil Peart, there is no meaning at all in this song. When asked in the April/May 1980 Modern Drummer magazine about whether there is a message to this song, Peart said, "No. It was just a flash. I was working on an entirely different thing when I saw a cartoon picture of these trees carrying on like fools. I thought, 'What if trees acted like people?' So I saw it as a cartoon really, and wrote it that way. I think that's the image that it conjures up to a listener or a reader. A very simple statement." (thanks, Thomas - Pittsburgh, PA)
This was used as the B-side of the US release of "Circumstances" as well as the UK release of "The Spirit Of Radio
This song is made up of three distinct time signatures: 6/8, which is used through most of the acoustic sections, the traditional 4/4, which is used in the heavier lead guitar sections, and an unusual 5/4 time signature used in the instrumental bridge. (thanks, Zach - Horn Lake, MS)
This song is referenced in the comical online role playing game Kingdom of Loathing. The description of the item Maple Syrup is: "There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees. Which means plenty of tasty treeblood for you." (thanks, Suzan - Rochester, NY)
Ricky, from the Canadian TV series Trailer Park Boys, references this song in the episode "The Spirit of Radio" when he says that he doesn't like Rush because they're "Always singing about trees and stuff like that." (thanks, James - Vancouver, Canada)
This song can be seen as a extremely over dramatic representation of how Canadians feel about Americans. Note the maple leaf is at the center of the Canadian flag. (thanks, George - Manassas, VA)
The American politician Rand Paul sometimes mentioned this song in interviews and speeches, using it as an example of his libertarian ideology. Neil Peart, whose political views don't always synch with Paul's, had Rush's management send a cease-and-desist order to Paul asking him to stop quoting the lyrics.