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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Buy the Forest: Kill the Trees

Ecology, Environment, Tree Decimation    CC0
Ecology, Environment, Tree Decimation CC0

Marya of the Wood

"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!” —Henry David Thoreau

I spend a great deal of time in the fields of Marigold Moon and meandering in the forest. I grew up in the woods here. It was a time when we authentically loved trees—saying those words and living by them are not the same. I have witnessed the death and destruction of many forests, including the pine grove where I live. It was done in the name of sustainability, creating a farm, and even that was a challenge for me. Imagine how I feel when I pass nearby places in the process of clear-cutting. Or envision how I responded when taking my fellow naturalist friend for a hike only to find ourselves in the middle of several acres of sheer destruction—piles of limbs and debris piled so high, it was almost impossible to navigate. Recently, when I learned about the plans to eradicate, via known harmful toxins, (alleged) pesky nuisance plants and trees along routes in the state, I tried to rally townsfolk to stand up and take notice—protect their land and water. We were included on that list with more routes tagged than most towns.

I invested a great deal of time doing proper research, hoping to provide informative links to those who might scratch their heads and wonder what on earth is happening here. We have much at risk with the wetlands, so caring for the well-being of our fragile ecosystems is essential. The past few years have provided opportunities for many to learn or cower. This fine line has begun to resemble a razor, but carefully navigate, we must. I have always taught my children and others in various settings to find the lesson(s). They don't always jump out at you, but they are there if you take the time and invest the energy to seek them. The lesson for me in this instance is that I cannot scream into the Grand Canyon or spit into the ocean and come out in a healthy place. I needed to let it go.

I tried, honest. It was challenging. I lost sleep. When I wandered into these woods, I apologized to the tree council for the ongoing destruction brought forth by my fellow man. It is not me who sprays toxins or wields the axe. Again, I tried, but I could not change the course of destruction. I have learned much about my inner strength, patience, and fortitude. Have we not all been put to the test? Before being the mower of all lawns on this farm, I used to all but throw myself in front of various patches of earth to protect the plants. Until I commandeered it, a lawnmower was a weapon of mass destruction. On a lighter note, I know my dear father is smiling down on me when I apologize to the stray daisy or yarrow in my path.

In all fairness, I make wild plant medicine. Foraging and fostering so-called healthy weeds is a way of life. That being said, the massive equipment that annihilates trees is enough to push me over the edge. Not far from here, someone purchased the long, old-time homestead of a family I knew from childhood. It was a farmhouse, typical of the style of many original homes here, like the one I live in now.

Soon after the buildings were torched, the clear-cutting of trees began. This project went on for weeks, as far as the eye can see. From sunrise to well after sunset, they cut trees seven days a week (even during the previous holiday weekend). All I could hear was the ripping, grinding jaws of the industrial monster killing the trees. It shredded through to my bones. There was a non-stop train of logging trucks going back and forth with their gold.

Yes, the mountains are beautiful. Many folks gasp when they see the view. Can you believe it? Well, of course, I can believe it. I live here. I grew up in these mountains. But one does not need to clear a beautiful virgin forest to see them. It's possible to see them from many other places. You can even hike in these woods and look at the mountains. It's easy for someone like me to get this.

I do not understand why some people purchase the forest only to kill the trees. When do selfishness and greed stop? When will we consider the powerful abundance of life here on this amazing planet and give it the protection and honor that must happen to preserve it?

This is not my usual type of post. I often keep my rants in journals and, in some cases, under a pen name. But I have no reason to hide my love and respect for Our Mother and all of Her inhabitants. I have turned a significant corner. If no one else will speak on behalf of the trees, plants, birds, insects, water systems, and various ecosystems at risk, it will be me. Many homeless creatures were wandering about the last time this happened (when I went hiking with my friend). Be patient. If you see wildlife in higher-than-usual numbers, they may have been evicted from their habitat by the tree monsters or another violent, unmindful method. In case you are a bear, deer, fox, turkey, owl, frog, or other friend reading this, remember that you can always nestle in these woods. I can't save the trees out there, but I can speak out from the depths of my being in solidarity. Yes, I know that the trees and other plants will grow back. I get that. But I don't get the all-or-nothing world that some people strive for and follow through only because they have the means to employ destructive practices. Peace be with you.

🍁 🍁 🍁 🍁

The following lyrics and link are from a song by Sandy Denney. (Fairport Convention) Sadly, she died young. She was an advocate for all life and living things.

Quiet Joys of Brotherhood

As gentle tides go rolling by, Along the salt sea strand, The colours blend and roll as one, Together in the sand. And often do the winds entwine, Do send their distant call, The quiet joys of brotherhood, And love is lord of all. The oak and weed together rise, Along the common ground. The mare and stallion light and dark, Have thunder in their sound. The rainbow sign, the blended flower, Still have my heart in thrall. The quiet joys of brotherhood, And love is lord of all. But man has come to plough the tide, The oak lies on the ground. I hear their tires in the fields, They drive the stallion down. The roses bleed both light and dark, The winds do seldom call. The running sands recall the time, When love was lord of all. [Richard Fariña / Sandy Denny / Fairport Convention]

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