Sunday, May 27, 2012

The fourteenth luminous thing...


Josh talked to our new neighbor about trees—rather, the new neighbor talked to him about trees, and which trees were hers and which were ours, and which she could cut down.

I'm worried about this, even though I'm far away and on vacation and not supposed to worry. I think I know the trees she means, four or five cedar trees growing haphazardly on our side or her side or both sides of the property line. I'm not a lover of cedar trees, I think they are ugly and ragged-looking, but I've learned that the birds love the cedars, especially the cardinals and bluejays, and the trees provide nice cover and shade as well as food, especially in the winter. So I've learned in the four months we've lived with them to love the cedars because the birds love them, and I love the birds.

I'm trying not to be outraged or worried about this needless killing of trees—they are possibly not my trees, after all—but aren't they more the birds' trees than anyone's? How can she decide to cut them down before even living in the house? I've done that myself, and regretted it.

But, today, I'm in Nova Scotia. More specifically, on Cape Breton Island, so far north and east that we've gone back in seasonal time. The trees, some of them, are just leafing out and just flowering. But—the trees! There are trees as far as I or anyone can see. Conifers, white birch, flowering fruit trees, others I can't identify—forests so thick with undergrowth we can see only a few feet into them. Trees undulating up the hills, trees growing on solid rock, trees growing from the tops of these hills all the way down to the edge of the cobalt blue water that is all around and in between them, water dark blue except in the shallows where it's blue-green like turquoise.

I think, well, there are more trees here than anyone knows what to do with, more than needed to go around, what is a few cedars? But that's not right. How can the planet ever have too many trees? And what will our birds do, back home, without the trees they use for food? Without the shade, the shelter, the protection? There is more to trees than we think or know: shade from the summer sun, a break from the wind, oxygen for our lungs, food for our birds, songs for our hearts when the winds whistle and moan through their branches. To kill them is to destroy all of that, and decades of life. I don't know our neighbor, so I can't interfere, I can only hope she waits, and thinks, and thinks better of her plans for destruction.

In the meantime, in these two weeks in the far north, I will bask in the shadow of the endless trees.

And now, a word from our sponsor, Nova Scotia. On Sunday we drove from Moncton, New Brunswick, to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Here are a few images from along the way:

The Dining Car Inn, Tatamagouche, 5.27.12

Where we ate lunch! 5.27.12

Inside the dining car 5.27.12

Lobster roll and salad, homemade bread 5.27.12

Just finishing lunch 5.27.12

View from the top of the driveway at our B&B, the Chanterelle Inn: nothing but trees and sky! 5.27.12

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