In the distance, I hear the wine of chainsaws. Trees are being cut down–felled–land cleared. I sit among the tall Douglas firs that are part of our little forest. They stand, reaching for the clouds while others of their kind fall to Earth.
I grieve, the relentless stripping of the land–the whine of the saws. They work, tearing into bark and hardwood until the grain snaps and the majestic weight draws the tree to earth. I hear the rhythmic blaring of the truck backing into position preparing to haul away the corpse of decades, perhaps centuries.
My heart hurts. The sound is relentless. It feels as though it draws nearer to me and the forest in which I pray. I wish the trees that have been lost in the few minutes I have been sitting here could somehow be restored, to be stood up again reaching to the sky. But I know they lie amid shattered branches.
I think of the novel by Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow. In the final chapter Jayber and Maddie grieve over the loss of a grove of old trees. That final chapter takes on deeper meaning today.
The air grows silent. The fierce roaring of the saws cease. Perhaps only two, perhaps three trees needed to come down. Maybe they were diseased and dangerous. Perhaps these were sacrificed so that the younger trees could grow and flourish, so that other trees could drink the Sun and dig deep into the Earth. But then the saws start again. They whine and growl. And I know they will not stop until the ground lies strewn with wreckage to be hauled away, and then the equipment will come and tear the stumps from the ground, the last evidence of a community of living trees torn from the Earth. And when it last a plot of land lies empty it will be ready to receive whatever it comes next.