Saturday, April 29, 2006

Arbor Day

Arbor Day was yesterday. Yes, I'm a tree hugger. Anyone who has ever visited our house would have to concur. It is very rare that I cut a tree. It must be suffering with some untreatable malady before I put saw to grain. When people come to our house they sometimes remark about the lack of grass in our front yard, but the canopy of Oak, Pine, Sweet Gum, Cyprus, and Persimmon make a ray of sunshine a rare thing indeed.
That's why I had a very hard time last year when the tree slayers showed up on the property adjoining ours which is owned by a large corporation. A logger with tattooed arms as big as cross ties showed up at our back gate and asked if we'd mind them using the driveway between our barn and the road that runs in front of our house. "It shore would make our jobs a lot easier," he explained. I simply said no, but the unspoken words were "I'd rather have an 18 inch knitting needle shoved through my eye and out the back of my head." I foolishly thought this would slow them down but they promptly brought in a huge machine that cut a swath big enough to land a Boeing 747 through our beautiful forest and built their own crude road that even now washes mud and silt into the creek each time it rains. We had maintained a walking path from our property down across the company land to a bluff overlooking a beautiful pond. The path had large rocks, wild honeysuckle bushes (they resemble azaleas), wild iris, and other beautiful plants. We walked that path almost every day and often we would come across deer, wild turkey, quail, rabbits or some other critter.
The cutters started long before the sun came up each day and for weeks we heard the tortured sound of falling trees. When the deed was done, nothing remained except a few scraggly pines and low brush and shrubs that were fortunate enough to not be in the path of the destruction.
I could not bring myself to walk back there for weeks afterwards. When I did it was a sad day in my life. They had cut many tall trees and simply let them fall and they are still lying there today. Jilda still cannot walk down there.
So yesterday...on Arbor Day, I found a small dogwood that was struggling for the light under the lush leafy umbrella of our hollow, and I dug it up. I found a place on the clearcut property and I planted it deep and I hauled in fertile woods dirt so that it will grow strong and tall.
You might ask why I would even bother....well that's what a tree hugger does on Arbor Day.

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