Short Stories
Entry No. 17   August 7, 2004


August 7 was an upsetting day for me. As I was riding into the depths of Southwest Washington, leaving behind some great people and looking ahead to a lonely ride, I biked by a monster machine cutting down trees. I stopped to watch. This machine was invented to get to more trees, faster. It annoyed me how fast the trees were being cut; they were not even trying to get to the base of the tree so as to utilize the entire trunk. In the four minutes I watched, six trees were cut and laid to rest. It made me think of a movie based on Diana Young's story called Fern Gully, The Last Rain Forest. I saw it for the first time in Juneau with Zoe and Joe, and I loved it and think everyone should watch it, old and young.

I thought about the replanting of these areas. Weyerhaeuser boasts that they manage their lands under the principles of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). However, one of SFI's objectives is to maintain healthy forests. To me, a healthy forest is a diverse one. The replanting that I've seen here in this area looks as though just one family or even just one species of tree has been replanted. To think the complete solution is replanting one single kind of tree, planted so uniformly, with no diversity, needs to be reconsidered. Without diversity, an entire forest would be susceptible to a single fungus or insect such as the Mountain Pine Beetle. I also wonder, as I have lots of time to, about the tree stumps and roots that remain after a clear cut. They certainly don't decompose as fast as the growth and clear cut of third and fourth generation trees, so how long before the land is just completely filled with dead and decomposing tree stumps, still not composted enough to be tilled into the soil?

I see this and realize that I demand this to be happening. I demand the paper bag, I demand the paper, the furniture, the heat, the books. Watching this makes me not want to buy or use another paper product, but what is my choice? Petroleum. I certainly don't want to demand that either. It is such a tough thing to think about constantly. We all get kind of numb to where our products and services come from because if we weren't numbed from these realities, we would all go a little crazy - like I am now, trying to find the right answers.

One issue that makes it tough is that the public is not being provided with feasible and very possible alternatives. Instead, these realities are covered up. The facts of where this or that product came from is not the focus. The focus by advertisers is YOU NEED THIS PRODUCT. To a certain degree, it is our fault to believe it, but it's also marketing and we begin to think we need some things when we really just want them.

It is sad to watch this. I thought about taking a picture but I didn't have a camera. Nevertheless, I don't think I needed to take a picture of this as it is burned in my memory and will be there for a long time to come, at least until I become numb again.

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