Laughing Dog Arts

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Forest for the trees

I love living here in the NW corner of Oregon.  It does rain a lot, but I grew up here and so am used to it and I actually like it.  Keeps things green.  There are lots of deer around, we surprise them on our walks frequently. 
It's quiet and peaceful here.  Usually.  My property borders the State Forest and for more than 30 years I have enjoyed that beautiful second growth forest as my seemingly private playground.  It is called second growth as opposed to Old Growth because it has already been logged once and the forest now is what has grown back either naturally or been replanted.  State forest is pretty much a tree farm these days.  Now they replant immediately after harvesting the trees and it only takes about 40 years (only!) for a tree to grow big enough to be harvested.  Things really grow here, it is essentially a temperate rain forest, you can't stop things from growing.
Approximately 40 year old trees.

So I always knew that some day they would be coming with their saws to cut down "my" forest.  The day has arrived.  This week began with men in hard hats cruising through the woods, putting up stakes marking the boundary between my land and the state forest.   On Wednesday the men with the saws showed up.  All day long I hear the buzz of the saws and the "plonk, plonk, plonk" of the wedges being driven into the cuts, soon followed by the sound of the last sigh of the tree as it leans over, branches swishing through the air, finally hitting the ground with a loud reverberating crash.  I hate that sound.
I am thankful that for now, they are only thinning this section of the forest.  I am thankful that I have a strip of land between me and the state forest so I don't have to see the trees coming down.   200 feet doesn't sound like much but it is enough.   Otherwise, the photo below shows what I would be seeing when I look out my front window.
We all use products from the forest, either in lumber or paper products.  At my house we recycle as much as possible and we reuse lumber until it is too rotted to be of use and then sometimes I carry it back into the forest and lay it down in my paths to help keep my feet out of the mud and let it finish rotting there.

We can get a permit to go into the logged over areas and collect firewood from the leavings for heating our house.  The waste in the forest is unbelievable.  The pile of wood the men are cutting on above is what they leave.  There is twice that still on the ground scattered about.  Well, it can rot and furnish nutrients for the next trees that will grow there.  I don't have to be happy about it though.  I heard a story the other day about a researcher who unknowingly cut down the oldest living organism in the world.  A tree, I think it was a bristle cone pine, that was over 4000 years old.  4000 years old!  I cried when I heard that.  That poor tree, standing there for so long, only to be cut down so a researcher could count the rings.  It makes me sick.   Well, there are worse things in this world, but I'd rather not think about those things. 
We collect a lot of firewood to heat the house and the studio.  I don't call my BF Chain Saw Man for nothing!
That saw in his hands is not one he uses.  He collects them too and that is one from his collection.  Weird, huh.

I feel better, getting all that off my chest.  I'm not looking for sympathy here, just keeping you all abreast of what's going on in my life.  Tomorrow is my journal making class so maybe my next post will be about that.  Until then, 
Be well.



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22 comments:

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh Jan,

I so totally feel for you. There is no respect for forests anymore. Yes, we all use products from the forests, but the thing is I see old homes here left to rot instead of having the good seasoned old wood salvaged like they do in more intelligent States.
I see a lot of waste. I recycle all my cardboard, and of course you know how I save every scrap of paper, to the point of it being ridiculous.....
Hugs-hugs-hugs ♥♥♥
And my, Chain Saw man has a BIG SAW..... ;D

XXOO~~Anne

Marlene said...

Wonderful post Jan, I feel the same way as you. We live at the edge of the Mt. Hood National forest, not as close as you but close enough. It makes me sad to see the trees go but I think our state manages the forest fairly well.

Karen said...

Having lived in Oregon I know how beautiful the forests are. I planted trees in the Cascades where the logging had stripped the forests of its lush canopy. We planted loads of trees, all of them douglas firs, a mistake I believe as there had been a variety of trees cut. Sad to see how short sighted our Nat. forest managements truly are.

Karen said...

OH - just had to comment that I love listening to the forest sounds you have playing, even those pesky insects!

Bunny said...

Thanks for this post it is really thought provoking. I have lived in the city all my life and am no way a county gal. I don't even like going to the country go figure. I do however love the ocean and the open spaces. My hubby however loves the country and we used to go camping all the time. I really did not enjoy the bugs and damp woods. LOL. I do love to look at all the trees but I am happiest on the beach. Thanks for openning you heart to all of us. Love that about you. (Guess that is why you make so many hearts);)

Nancy said...

Painful to read, so experiencing it is truly a challenge. What must that deer think with all the noise and crashing of trees. When does the replanting occur, or won't it since this is a thinning operation?

Janet Ghio said...

I love the photo of the deer-beautiful and I'm so sorry about your forest. As art journalers who use paper-it gives pause for thought, doesn't it.

dosfishes said...

Good to see a pic of you too....Our neighbors cleared 12 acres for pasture when they bought the land next to us and we got five years worth of heating wood just from the slash pile left by the logger. We could have got more, but we were just too tired to load our truck one more time that year. The rest got bulldozed. No one realizes how like a bomb site a logging operation of clear cut looks. I didn't read about the bristle cone pine. I know there are only a few left supposedly in a secret location, guess not anymore....Thanks for sharing....we often take for granted where all this paper, etc comes from, I like the idea of using a board up, we do too! xox Corrine

yoborobo said...

How many times have I sighed while reading this? What an awful day for you. I would hate, hate, hate to hear that sound. I know we use wood, and the products, but when you see land that has been logged (even knowing that in 40 years it will be green and lush again), it is heartbreaking. xox to you!

Linda in New Mexico said...

I live in a state where there are lots of mountains with lots of trees. Granted they are not the lush forests of your part of the country, but being the day off travelers we are, we go to the mountains for our respite. Many times seeing what is left after a thinning and worse yet a controlled burn of the forest, I am always heart sick. The story of the 4000 year old tree broke my heart and I now will use the photos of your 40 year old replants as an object lesson for my grandson. He is only 6 and has here to for not been made to be mindful of not wasting paper.....the forest.
I can't imagine having to listen to the "destruction" something so innately beautiful. My wish for you is peace. The Olde Bagg, Linda

Tam Hess said...

Heartfelt post! Thanks for sharing all your emotions. I Sure appreciate it. BIG HUG :) Good luck with your class. Mine went well...Duh! What was I worried about? :)

artymess said...

ooh Jan I really feel for you ..it made me cry too that researcher cutting down that 4000 yr old specimen ........how tragic.....beautiful deer ..do the dogs chase them one of mine, Gracie does that why we have to muzzle her when we take her in the woods so she doesn't do any damage to furry creatures.....take care we have to remember take care .....xx

beadbabe49 said...

so sorry to hear about the cutting happening in your neighborhood...I believe in managing the forests (as you say, they are "just" tree farms at this point) but I also believe that clear cutting is the worst way to manage the forests and if we had any respect, we'd do carefully controlled cuts and burns only when and where necessary.

Robbie said...

You are so fortunate to live in an area where you can and do appreiciate our forest! So glad that you do.

Karen S said...

I cried when they cut down the dying maple in front of my house. This just makes me so sad and angry.

Your pictures are beautiful -- at least the first four, anyway.

April said...

Sorry to hear how upsetting the logging is for you, Jan. I know how much you enjoy all the nature around you. I must say that clear cutting doesn't bother me, like it does you. When they clear cut across the river from us, at first it seemed so barren, but before we knew it the little flags (iris) and foxglove were sprouting, as were the wild blackberries. It was so fun to see the deer, elk & coyotes, too. It is so grown up now that you can't even see the side-hill at all, so before you know it your forest will be dense again.

f c Karen said...

Oh Jan I am so devastated and nauseated at what is happening to your forest home - I can hardly bare to think of it. I took pictures last time I was there from the meadow, with such peace in my heart at the beauty of your mountainside of trees resting behind your house. It doesn't matter if you knew it would one day happen - it still is just awful. And I just wonder what far off country is going to get them. I remember one day at the beach cabin waking up to that sound coming from way up the hill and feeling the ground shake with each tree. And just earlier today I was standing in the far NE corner of our forest down there worrying about when they'll be back for more trees or if they'll come for those just above us even though our spring would be ruined. On the way down there all the hills are stripped clean along HWY 18 near that casino and looking south towards the Van Duzer Corridor, with no buffers of trees in between for the animals to have shelter as they pass through. And worse yet is all along the way to Coos Bay to take Kaarle back to school; 101 around Reedsport is so bad I just can't believe they consider it good logging practices when they completely wipe out an entire watershed drainage. I do hope they're done at your place for a very long time. I sure feel for you Jan and am so sorry.

Flowermouse Design said...

Oh, Jan thank you for sharing your thoughts. It´s so sad that nature is paying for people thinking they can do whatever they want to whatever it is. I sent you a big hug!!!

Anja said...

I can very good understand your inner state when you hear the cutting of the trees. It must be very painful for you. Sometimes when I hear that an animal race will vanish from earth I also feel that pain. We made a lot of errors as humankind, we only can choose to find a better way. Beside this thoughts I like very much the first and the last photo of your blog. Your portrait looks like an artist foto!!
Have good times Jan, nevertheless
Anja

audrey said...

Jan,
So many of us are saddened by the things that destroy our dear beautiful earth. My love for trees is strong and I hate to see even one small twig tree felled in some way.
Sometimes my DH watches that show on TV where the loggers have competitions to see who can take down the most trees in the shortest period of time. I have to leave the room as it sickens me.
I know we need some things for progress and I do believe we are getting smarter in realizing that we need to be more respectful of our earth and the gifts she gives us.
I truly hope you won't hear that sound for too long. You live in a beautiful area. I like your description ~ the forest, the deer, the rain, the peace....
Thank you for the things you do to prevent waste, for your recycling, etc. It is a meaningful example for all of us.
♥ audrey

maggi said...

I'm just glad that you don't get that view from your window Jan. I can't believe how much they leave behind but am glad that you are able to make use of it.

Martha Bright said...

So sorry Jan. It is a dirty shame that a creature with such a short lifespan can take the life of something that can live centuries, all for toilet paper or some other stupid thing. Just think if we all recycled or bought recycled products how many trees we could save. I hope that anyone who reads your blog and does not recycle will now do so, inspired by your words.

I so hate the sound of chainsaws. One of our Amish neighbors cut down his entire stand of old trees--just to make a pasture. The other Amish neighbors were as appalled as we were.