February.1.2012

(As to be expected, this is the second time I am writing this post. I’m not sure what happened, but I apologize if this post isn’t as good the second time around. It’s hard to write the same thing twice and have the same connection to it.)

When I was growing up, the idea of logging and even cutting trees was pretty dramatic. All I can remember is watching grainy videos of large yellow bulldozers leveling sections of an amazon rainforest. The would show toucans and monkeys scurry away as their homes were destroyed and how this was going to ruin the environment. 

This Captain Planet depiction was all an urban raised kid from the 1990s knew about logging and forestry. Oh, and that chainsaws were awesome in horror movies. Still are really.

So when I heard that there would be some forestry work done around our house and the camp, I think my mind was filled with inaccurate craziness. Every night as I walked home, I would look at all the trees marked for removal and imagined how it was going to look like a wasteland. That giant yellow bulldozer was coming for us all.

I can still remember when I heard the heavy machinery and the chainsaws for the first time. A moment of panic ran through me as I figured I would arrive at a maze of pick up sticks at the entrance of camp. Might as well forget going to the mailbox without some kind of machete to work my way through the wreckage.

These thoughts were only compounded when I initially watched a piece of their equipment grab a tree with a claw, cut it at the base, remove all the branches, and section it into 7’ lengths in 30 seconds. 30 seconds per tree. Wow. This would be bad.

But after a few days, I realized that with that speed, came care and accuracy. They had a plan and they were sticking to it. Some trees were removed, but many were left. There was never a bulldozer or a howler monkey running for its life.

Today we went as a family to see the progress. The stacks of wood were impressive. We can now see much further into the woods which is a change as well. Our kids loved that they were able to stand beside the equipment and ask how it all worked. I’m thankful they are still of an age when giant machinery is still fascinating and not the stuff of nightmares.

The base of our driveway is the staging area for the logs, so it is a pretty busy place. It is littered with branches and sawdust and will likely be a mess for quite a while as will the places where the cutting took place. But I know in the long run this was a necessary step in being good stewards with the forest we have. When the camp was first started, these trees were not here. We are blessed to have such a rich environment to live in now. I just hope our guests can see past the immediate mess and see the bigger picture of sustainability.

I have always been intrigued by the rings of a cut tree as well. I love the idea that every tree has a story wrapped up in those circles. Each season it goes through is captured. If there was good rain, you get one kind of ring. If there was a lot of snow and stress on the tree, you get something very different.

I love to imagine how those rings would look in my own life as well. If I could see the moments of my past that were hard, how different do those rings look than the moments when I was blessed with great joy? How often do I even bother to reflect on what that history looks like?

For now though, I’m just thankful for all that is being done at the camp and the blessings we have. I hope my kids will see that sometimes a season of harvest is needed to see a better season of growth; both in the forest and in our lives.

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