Dosewallips Ranger Station, WA
Have you ever wondered about the lived experience of a tree? What’s it like to win the battle for elbow room, for photonic nourishment, to push out endlessly, to strive for just one ring more? Or, similarly, to lose, to be usurped of vertical space, to watch in vain as the sun is forever obscured by a competing trunk. To spend a lifetime putting down roots; to sustain a community of squirrels, an owl’s nest; to mourn a neighbour sacrificed to the mushrooms. Who gets the chair at the head table, the fir or the cedar? Is it the yew that offers comfort when summer turns to fall? When felled, who, really, makes the loudest sound?
I know, we’re talking about trees here, those senseless machines on the city’s outskirts, endlessly engaging with 11th grade molecular nomenclature. But regarding trees as just lungs but taller is like seeing humans as smart monkeys driven primarily by the demands of ancient patterns. Sure, it’s true that we eat and sleep and piss and fuck, but somewhere in there is a yearning for love and freedom, and saying it in those words only serves to obscure the poetry of the thing, and then what’s the point? I hate evolution for its abstraction, its cold science, its reduction of vocabulary to a language that could never explain waking up to see that day after day of moody cloud have cleared; I hate it because it can’t explain the joy of basking in the sun’s warmth as it rises over the ridgeline and bathes the valley in first light.