A few months back, in the midst of an ordinary freeway jaunt, my consciousness wrested free from its default mind-numbed status as inert passenger to unexpectedly alert me to a stunning reality: all the of the trees we still see are incredibly young, and small, and compose a natural landscape utterly alien to what once was.
In Michigan, there exists the lore that it was once possible for a squirrel to cross the entire state without touching the ground, the land was so full of trees. Though this image certainly did impress me with a sense of wonder and loss, only on the aforementioned recent road trip did I visualize the deeper ramifications of the clear cut which occurred. Those lost trees were massive, elderly sentinels in a wholly mature forest. That forest ecosystem was positively towering over the heads of every other being.
I had a glimpse of how utterly shocked and stunned and dismayed and traumatized and, yes, awed my indigenous ancestors must have been to witness such a sweeping and surreal change. I am amazed that any semblance of the culture was able to survive such devastation and heartbreak.
When I look at the trees and grasses and wildflowers we have today, I also see the shadow of what once was, and sometimes cry a bit. I think it’s important to mourn that loss and feel sorry.
So, now, instead of grand forests, we only have the pitiful dregs. But, they’re our dregs. And still enabling life to exist, despite all odds and harm. We need to help those dregs, expand and restore the necessary sway of the living, breathing planet. A good first step would be to stop being a hindrance. Let life grow: forgo the script of never-ending-cutting-burning-paving “development.” Make plans to live. Green goes better with hope and peace. I’m tired of grey.
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