Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Last Scene

..............Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

        ~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It

A recent storm that battered Seattle and Vancouver caused me to look for photos of the trees that fell, but the story of an earlier storm, last December, popped up with this photograph.  As usual, wind is blamed for damage when clearly the problem is a tree that is covered in lethal cankers, and rotted on the inside.  The accompanying report indicated the terrible toll the storm took, not only leaving thousands without power, but a 61 year old man hospitalized from a tree that fell on his house, and a fire that resulted when a tree fell on a propane tank.  A teenage boy died when a tree fell on his car, and a homeless man sleeping in a tent died from a fallen tree as well.
Even earlier, in April 2014, a storm toppled at least a dozen large trees in a park in Tacoma, Washington, "like matchsticks" which was no wonder since they, too, were rotted.
Is it any wonder wildfires are burning like never before?  All that rot produces methane, which is highly flammable.
Today I went through Oldwick and witnessed once again what I see occurring everywhere I go - trees being cut down.  The sound of chain saws and chippers is deafening, and there is a stink of diesel fumes and scorched wood in the air.
The shady little village I love is being denuded of trees - those that don't fall over are being pre-emptively removed.  My favorite, the magnificent copper beech, is still standing - but it has been heavily pruned (amputated) and it hasn't got much time left.  I took this photo in June of 2009, because I already felt that the crown was disturbingly thin, and discovered that the leaves were covered with aphids, a well-known effect of exposure to pollution.  I noticed that winter that sap was leaking from the trunk, staining the bark.
This is how it looked this morning:

The only thing that will end this horror is oblivion.


  1. yeah i'm searching for an naturalist's version of meditating on graves but so far no shelter to be found.
    long time ago now a windshear cut down many of the ancient oaks (and or took deadly amounts of their branches) that once defined my parent's neighborhood in upstate ny and ever since they all have been on a kind of communal hospice trip, what a world...

  2. Gail, thanks for pointing out (in the last Ecoshock i heard) how trees cause rain and how the felling of the South American rain forest causes drought in the west of the U.S. The loggers are so ignorant of the whole process and look at cutting down trees as "just a job." Everything is connected and now that it's too late for any kind of remediation - we're dead people walking.


  3. Yet another corroborating report, Gail:

    Earth has 3 trillion trees but they're falling at alarming rate


    The number of trees has fallen by about 46 percent since the start of human civilization and each year there is a gross loss of 15 billion trees and a net loss of 10 billion, said Yale University ecologist Thomas Crowther, who led the study published in the journal Nature.

    "There are currently fewer trees than at any point since the start of human civilization and this number is still falling at an alarming rate," he said. "If anything, the scale of these numbers just highlights the need to step up our efforts if we are going to begin to repair some of these effects on a global scale." [yeah, right]


  4. from the same article tom is talking about:

    For every person on Earth, there are 422 trees—in total, more than 3,000 billion deciduous or evergreen growths with woody trunks greater than 10 centimeters at breast height.

    I am trying to convince a friend of my second son not to have a third child. Like my old chinese teacher would have said:
    talk to him
    talk to the wall
    same thing



    1. Wow, they had volunteers counting tree density in plots all over the world and they didn't notice how many are dying? THAT'S depressing!

  6. I suppose you saw this:

    And now there is this:

    1. "Close-up photos show its trunk badly rotted inside." What a surprise. Thanks for those links.

  7. Mass Die Off Of Forests Happening Globally And Accelerating Death Rate Of Trees Is Increasing


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