In the news this week, we heard of a person or persons who lopped off over six thousand cherry trees recently planted in a local orchard. anyone who has used a lopper knows that although the tool is relatively silent and unobtrusive, cutting your way through thousands of broomstick sized tree trunks is no easy task. Cultivating enough hatred to sustain such a destructive act must require a substantial amount of self-loathing.
What many do not understand is that the way we treat one another is often a direct result of how we are treating the planet. The rapist mentality that allows us to take whatever we want, no matter the cost easily translates to abusing the planet, but her creatures and people. As long as we buy into the concept of abuse being acceptable, any action can be defended. Here at our office, we have planted over a dozen trees. If one were to include the property across the street that is a living Permaculture demonstration facility, perhaps a dozen or more trees have been planted to demonstrate long-term management goals as well as our commitment to sustainability. Several of these trees have been attacked over the years. It is completely senseless and wasteful, but those who perpetrate violence against, of all things, trees are exhibiting a certain kind of loathing, one that makes no sense and leaves everyone a little worse off.
Unlike the psychopath(s), who destroyed thousands of trees that would eventually bear fruit, the trees that came under attack on our property were simply meant to provide shelter, food and nesting areas for our native neighbors. In addition, they screened our yard from passing pedestrians, kept the noise down a bit and allowed us to define the "edge" of our facility. The latest tree to come under attack was a serviceberry. It is no more or less important than any of the other trees that we have planted over the years, but this one in a million was put in just such a place as to screen the view of our back porch, creating a fragrant perfume in the spring as well as providing highly nutrient dense berries in the fall. After ten years, it was coming into it's own and was a wonderfully shaped specimen capable of providing fruits and viable seed for decades. Now, it is only good for kindling wood.
Perhaps we cannot stop the hurt from happening, but if we are to change our almost certain course toward self-destruction, what we need to do is find out why so many are bent on bringing their anger to bear on innocent life. When we hear of millions of acres being lost to climate change, perhaps a single tree seems not to matter, but I am here to tell you that each of us and every tree have the power to make a difference, not just in one life but in the entire biosphere. Before we utilize the hatchet, fire or the loppers, perhaps we should ask our selves, "Are we just trying to mask our own pain?" Taking our self-loathing out on others is never a good idea and just because the trees cannot scream out in a language that most of us understand, should not mean that we are deaf to their plight. Nor should we turn our backs on those who are hurting around us.