There Once was a Forest

To me it’s like entering a war zone. A complete annihilation of life at a heart-stopping speed. Part of me wants to rage. To point fingers. To blame. To say to the collective masses, “This is what you cheered for, as though it is a victory.” I cannot help but be angry. I have only entered the second stage of grief.

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Aren’t you glad it’s not your home?

For some this is a victory, but I can’t help thinking about squirrels running down the supporting structures of their homes as they fall like dominoes, wondering if they made it to safety in time. Birds, flying the nest. Chipmunks hiding beneath the ground, unable to hold their ears against the maddening roar of destruction.

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How much life was lost?

There were coyotes and deer and this forest. There were countless insects and the life that lives beneath the ground, and only sometimes comes to the surface. Not to mention the hundreds of trees and plants, razed in one day.

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The dead trees are piled, too neatly. One thinks of the Holocaust. 

Should we be proud of this?

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A week ago my children ran and laughed under a canopy of trees.

I want to believe that we can make peace with this land, that we did before it was destroyed, but the truth is, we haven’t. There was no collective ceremony. No giving thanks and asking for forgiveness, only a righteous justification in a belief that it was ours to dispose of as we wished.

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“We bought the land for this purpose thirty years ago.”

In 30 years a forest of life grew and flourished. In 3 days it was gone.

 

 

 

Day 3

It rained all day yesterday, and the dogs and I decided to stay near home. Today, though, is beautiful. It feels like April instead of March, the air soft and warm.

Where I was stopped.
Where I was stopped.

Last night I dreamt of a hummingbird. I was sitting outside, on a warm sunny day, and the hummingbird, larger than life, flew into my field of vision and hovered before me. It wore the colors of the forest. The colors of the heart. A rich green cloak over a gold breast, reminding me that the heart beats for life, but also for joy.

A living embodiment of the resilience, and a reminder that joy is the nectar of life.
A living embodiment of resilience, and a reminder that joy is the nectar of life.

This time I was stopped at the edge, where the yellow caution tape three days ago embraced a forest filled with life. I thought of the beautiful struggle of a seed, smaller than my fingernail, quietly, valiantly, growing into the full breadth of a pine whose trunk once spanned the embrace of my arms three times over. What did it take to grow to those great heights? Perhaps 50 years.

There once was a forest.
There once was a forest.

It took less than 3 days to lay waste to the forest. Each time my breath catches in my throat with loss, my heart beats towards life. The last bird I heard singing inside the forest was a cardinal. Today, the 3 crows that have been by my side faithfully, flew to the edge where I stood and bore witness with me. Two nights ago I dreamt of an eagle.

True power is also a gift of the heart.
True power is also a gift of the heart.

 

Day 1

Tomorrow has arrived, and the forest I knew has begun to turn into yesterday. I can think of little else.

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The trees by the roadside are being felled first

I want to bare witness to each fall of life, and I also want to stay tucked inside my home. This morning, as if by happenstance, I was given the grace of friendship by my side while I walked the path of memory. We heard the saws long before we saw the evidence, and while I listened to their unyielding power, I swallowed back grief and regret.

Life is a series of sacrifices. Life, by nature, cannot be possible without death, yet I struggle to make sense of loss. Especially when ceremony is replaced with a belief in ownership. This distancing of connection. A forgetting that we are of the land, intricately tied together in this beautifully complex, strong, yet fragile, web of life.

How many days, I wonder, will it take for the last of my friends, destined for death, to fall to the ground? In mere seconds, when we reached the edge of the woods, by way of the field, I watched a whole group of them fall nearly at my feet.

The only people stationed to warn were beside the paved road, as though they have already forgotten that feet pass through the forest often. That life is abundant, even with the leaves have yet to bud into bloom.  If we had not been aware, we could have fallen with them.

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Day 1: What will tomorrow look like?