Saturday, December 12, 2015

Are They Really Gonna Take Them All?*

From the yard I could hear machinery working in the south, so when I went for a walk last weekend, it was in the opposite direction. They'll be cleaning up the mess they left a year or two ago when they knocked down a bunch of trees, I thought; that's good.

But the next day on my way to work, my heart sank when I saw that the machinery had been knocking down another long swath of trees along the road: trees that the birds and mammals need for habitat, trees that the planet needs for oxygen, trees that help keep the soil from blowing away in the powerful winds we get.

This is not uncommon around here. Farmers are always knocking down trees as if they are a worthless resource and, I guess to some farmers, they are just a weed on land they need to make a dollar off of. When I asked a farmer why they destroy trees, knowing what we now know about the importance of preserving them, his reply (with a smile and "You must be one of those tree-huggers, eh?") was that farmers like to keep their fields "tidy" and that the farm machinery they use nowadays is so large that they need wide open areas in order to turn around and such. I've also heard mention that trees catch snow and cause the roads to block up too often in winter.

When I saw those trees down along my route to town the other day, my guts churned, as they always do when I see this kind of carnage — which I do, all too often. People should know better! I think. Why don't they? But while these thoughts whirl about, I'm not unaware that the reason I'm here is that the trees were cleared from this entire district around 100 years ago so that our great-great grandparents could homestead. Had it not been, this whole area would all be solid bush. Instead there are lovely landscapes, a perfect blend of trees and open fields, and we've all made a living for many decades and been proud of our agricultural heritage. Generations of my family on both sides have benefited by the cutting down of trees, so I have no business being holier-than-thou.

On my way home in the dark last night, I almost missed my corner because the trees that stood nearby are no longer there as a landmark.

*From the song Trees, by Dennis Lakusta

I can't find a video of Dennis singing Trees, but here's another pretty song he wrote: