Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Heart Ache

Wooded hillside the winter after it was cut.
For the eleven years that I've lived in my little cottage, I've been surrounded on two sides by trees. It was like being nestled in the woods. A good bit of the ground around the main house and the farm house behind me is ledge so tree roots there had limited purchase. Still, the pines grew rapidly, tall and spindly but beautiful in their height. I loved to hear the wind rush through their branches. Until those same branches started falling during the ever fiercer storms we seem to be getting. When one landed so near the cottage that it threatened to smite me in my bed, the landlady decided it was time for all the pines to go. I fled the day they were scheduled to come down and returned to a denuded and barren hillside. The clearing out gave the young maples there a chance to breathe and stretch and the cherry to rise to rise to new heights. The following summer the scars were completely covered with wild raspberry bushes and fresh undergrowth.

stumpage
Now it is the small woods to the southeast that is being cut up, the log lengths carted away on a huge truck. Where once three dozen large pines and dozens of small, leafy hardwoods met my gaze, there is only the empty air and a couple of small farm outbuildings exposed and naked. The once secret path to the back of the farmhouse is now a road where the logging machinery has churned up the earth. I will have to watch the giant cherry come down, leaving an ungainly sky hole. There will be no rustling leaves this fall to filter the sunlight or whisper secrets in the wind. I can feel the still living trees cringe along with me at each whine of the chain saw.

Marked trees destined for the saw.
 Next summer the small undergrowth will take over. The young maples and oaks that barely saw sunlight before yesterday will reach up and out. In a few years there will be woods again between my cottage and the farm. But oh! I miss the familiar trees, those quiet giants that have watched over me for the past few years, lending me strength and giving me shade.

Giant cherry that will be no more...


14 comments:

Brian Miller said...

oh i so feel you....i grew up in the woods...than industry came in and tore out most of the ones i once played in...taking a lot of the memories with it... : (

Tabor said...

You may have read my recent posts about cutting trees for no real reason. It breaks my heart and I hope they let the woods continue to return.

June said...

As I was walking (of course!) the other morning, I was greeting individual trees along the route. I know them now. I remember trees from my childhood home, and I miss them.
I know exactly what you mean here.

goatman said...

It is sad. I was introduced to clearcutting when we lived in Oregon for a time, where entire mountaintops were bared and ugly. It will come back forested but we may not have the time to wait for the future beauty.
To be smote in one's bed by falling wood would be a bummer ~~~

Out on the prairie said...

It really hurts me to see trees come down since I know the replacements won't ever grow as big in my lifetime.When you described the sound going through the needles I thought of a favorite area to listen with about 600 trees that were once a test plot.

Star said...

When I first went to America in 2006, I was surprised to see how many trees there were, lining the roads and circling the houses. I live in England where most of our forests have been cut down to make way for housing, roads and industry. I have spent a lot of time in America since and over those years I have witnessed many trees being cut down to make room for housing, shops and more shops. It makes me so sad because I know where you're heading. In a few more years your forests will disappear. It is such a shame.

Gary said...

It's good that you are keeping in mind that new growth will come up. At least that's something. I had a deep woods behind my house growing up and we would spend our days back there exploring. We even tried to build a log cabin from the description in the Little House books but didn't get very far. As I got older it all was pulled up and torn down. Now there are houses there (my sister bought the house from my parents so I still visit). You'd never know what once was. Maybe your once was will come again.

Steve Reed said...

Oh, I hate to see those big trees come down. I don't know why people think they have to "manage" forests. They manage quite well by themselves, don't they?

Hilary said...

I feel your pain, Pauline. I'm sorry you're losing your trees - particularly in such numbers. It feels so wrong.

Anne said...

I am so sorry this is happening in your world. I know you will miss those trees. I am always sad to see big trees be cut down or die. They seem so permanent but are really just as transient as all life.

Judith said...

I AM sorry, Pauline. I know how you love all these --- I almost wrote "creatures," and that wouldn't be far wrong. They're living beings for you.
Perhaps they, or some of them, would have come down in a future storm. Not much present comfort, while still being true.

Barbara said...

I am saddened by the loss of any tree. It seems such a shame to destroy what took so many years to grow. I admire the pluckiness of nature, which responds by giving other things a chance to grow and flourish.

I am sorry you are losing some of your favorite trees.

Barbara Shallue said...

I hate to see any trees come down, but I suppose that's hypocritical because I love wood furniture and paper. I love how you wove strands of hope and optimism and reason through your goodbye.

Sky said...

we just had some conifers removed here and replaced them immediately with moderately sized magnolias, but i could not go outside when it was being done. it always feels like murder, no matter what the reason.