Striding with ease through the tall and soulful trees brought a new taste of tenderness to the trials of timeless timber.
I’m sure I am not alone in the stirring that our stroll through the Whaletown commons woodlands brushed upon me, like pollen dusting down and nestling oh so comfortably amongst the fibers of my mindscape. Of all the things to take with me on that ferry, I treasured that moment of humble silence as I lay my chest against the mossy bark of that first old growth tree. Gazing up in bewilderment, like the days when my uncles would toss me around their childhood kitchen, I felt a visceral, childlike connection to this tree I seemed to have known my entire life. From that angle, I was convinced I could just start walking vertically up the trunk like it was horizontal, ducking and weaving through the sporadic branches to reach an end I had no sight of. It made me wonder where I was hoping to go; what lay at the end of this triumphant specimen, and why did I, of all people, deserve to tread that trail?
It’s easy to anthropomorphize all of these things we feel such deep connections to, and perhaps that is a human trait in place to urge us to treat all things with the same respect. If it isn’t there already, I see a widespread dissemination of the IDEALS associated with Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis to be the next evolutionary step where those who cannot foster such appreciation don’t deserve to reap the benefits.
I believe Joel Salatin says it best in Food INC. in claiming that “a culture that just views a pig as a pile protoplasmic, inanimate structure to be manipulated by whatever creative design the human can foist on that critter, will probably view individuals within it’s community and other cultures with that same disdain, disrespect, and controlling type mentality” (Kenner, 50:15). I think that as a human race, there must be an inherent desire to better ourselves by striving for this humble and respectful standard for the sake of sustainability, and especially for the reconnecting of humans to this universe that designed them by whatever means one chooses.
No, this gargantuan Thuja may never know the treasures that it’s worth, but as far as the area of land known formally as ‘Whaletown Commons’ is concerned, it has no value other than the shade, sap, space, and sounds that it conjures amongst the forestlands- much like my childish perception of those gargantuan tree trunks that appeared to be my uncles.