If a Tree Snaps in the Woods Can You Stop It?

November 5, 2012

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Four months ago a strange wind roared through our woods, snapping gigantic trees in half and uprooting them whole. Hundreds of miles and thousands of acres were tormented by a coup of nature. Perfectly healthy stands of trees were blown over, truly, like toothpicks.

There was no possible way to foresee this. There was no possible planning or preparation for this destruction. Certainly, we could have been better prepared for the aftermath, for the loss of power and access to water, to food, to gasoline. But the wind itself and the force with which it turned beauty and value into dusty calamity? No way to stop it, to prevent the devastation. Even where ideal forest management practices had been implemented, the trees were taken, severed, killed.

I have long marveled at trees—the way they start out as wee seeds and grow to tower over buildings, the way they are rooted in one place, yet flow about in the weather. Trees (perhaps unconsciously, but who am I to know) make a commitment to something and stay with it. Trees don’t (well, I believe they don’t) quibble about where they are or wait for the right time or place.

Tress just get on with the business of being trees.

Trees don’t worry about winds or fires or the demands of humans. Trees. Just. Are. Full on.

I ponder the wind that came through this land, the devastating wind that could not be stopped or even mitigated—the inexorable nature of nature, of life. And I take it as a permission of sorts, to just get on with things, to just get on with my life. The wind has shown me that—perhaps—I ought to fret less about being prepared and making the right choices, and just embark on living without so much worry about having the perfect itinerary.

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