I watched a forest felled last week. First I heard the rumble of a large machine, then the cracking of wood splintering, then a shivering balance and the fall of a tree appearing both ponderously heavy and bizarrely weightless as it toppled in slow motion, seemingly drawn to earth as much by subjected surrender as by gravity.
I had been standing near the garden outside my home on Kingfisher Farm when this occurred. The forest in question ran along the 5 acres of our eastern border. Most of the trees were alders – weeds of the tree world, but also home to squirrels, raccoons, and countless birds including a pair of Barred owls that called regularly to us from across the fence.
Three different envoys of farmmates pleaded with our new neighbour to leave a few trees standing – the cherry that draped over the fence onto our land, but especially the towering cedars on the slope toward the pond. But our case was made in vain -- every tree came down. In as sense our pleading was hypocritical -- our own gardens and pastures were once a tangle of Firs and ferns and our houses are built of wood. And so we pause and lament, recognizing both our own culpability in creation’s destruction as well as the potency of our technology which can destroy in a few days what had flourished for centuries. And we recommit ourselves to know our place, to steward it well, and live in peace.