Turn the other cheek?

January 12, 2003

Sometimes it is not enough to just plant trees on the hillside in the soft sun — parting those grasses with your searching fingers and inserting into the moist dark earth a tender she-oak seedling; a newly born about to embark on its own search for sustenance from above and below.

With each placement a prayer.

With each placement a new family member welcomed into an already established family of 3000 sister and brother she-oaks planted over the past ten years.

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Beyond the goodness of this act, just a mile away, bulldozers this past spring cut a swath through ancient soils and elder trees.

Trees whose roots, reaching down for countless years, have allowed branches to reach up and bring into the light of their leaves a co-existent beauty shared by many.

Trees who have asked nothing of anyone except to be who they are.

The equivalent of my planting of ten years was undone in less than one day.

Would it have been proper to “turn the other cheek” and continue to plant my trees in contemplative silence while, within earshot, an unjust pain was heard on an adjacent hill through the roar of engines.

I thought not. Using my artistic mind, I had fabricated a professional looking, large metal sign (seven feet by four feet) and erected it at the entrance to my drive along Roaring Beach Road.

After two months, I took it down feeling that it had served its purpose of “bearing witness” to the unethical, yet legal, practice of clearfelling.

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