Archive for May 10th, 2009

Fallen TreeLast night Cheri and I were out in the yard of my studio when we heard what sounded like firecrackers going off from what we first thought might be our neighbors.  The rapid fire popping was suddenly followed by a roar and the crashing sound of what must have been a large tree falling, smashing through the limbs and trunks of its neighbors.

I trotted over towards where the sound seemed to originate, first making sure it hadn’t fallen on our home or outbuildings since the sound came from that direction.  I headed into the woods but saw no new downed trees so kept moving until at last there it was at the edge of our property, a large oak tree.

It was on its side with the trunk left in huge chunks and splinters, showing the evidence of a large hollow that had weakened its support.  Its huge limbs lifted it several feet off the ground and the trees around it were pushed over from the massive weight being exerted. The smell of broken wood and damp earth where the broken trunk had gouged the ground when it flipped over filled the air and I wondered at its age.

Over the years I have had the honor of hearing and sometimes seeing many trees fall in our woods.  I say honor because it seems a rare thing to be able to see something that has lived for many decades or even centuries, as in the case of the oak, come to an end.  There’s a certain feeling of being attached to the earth that comes with being there at the very moment when something that seems somehow eternal ceases to be.   There’s a bit of sadness that accompanies the witnessing of such a thing and I can only think of how the outer world has changed in the life of these trees.  As I am a witness to the end of their lives, they have witnessed the vast changes that have taken place in our lives, many of us falling as well.  They have seen the land around them evolve from thick forests to cleared farmland and back to thick forests.  They have witnessed the explosion of sound that has accompanied our technological advances.  They have seen us come and go.

So today the sound of that tree crashing back to the earth rings in my ears.  And the world keeps turning…

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