The fallen forest


Dear Editor:

While it is not about COVID deaths, I want to share some reflections about my sadness and grief. In this case my grief is for some old white oaks in a patch of forest near where I live that are being cut down. Death seems to be in the air.

I am not angry with the loggers who are taking the trees, only deeply, deeply saddened. My husband and I have a close friend who, many years ago, felled a forest here so he could afford to build his vacation home. I have not been angry at him. Fortunately, I was not on the scene when he did it and did not witness the destruction. And I have enjoyed many beautiful weekends at his vacation place.

I am older now, perhaps more aware of the impermanence of life than I was when I was young and played with abandon on our friend’s land. Like the joy I experienced then, many times I have enjoyed walking by the woods near our home where the prime timber is now being cut down. So, it is harder to hear the sounds of death that the chain saws bring to me. 

I know death awaits me, as it does for all of us at some unknown point in our lives, as it does for the trees, too. I wrote the following poem, which I have condensed into prose here, to express my grief.

The Fallen Forest. The trees cry out as souls ascend Into the Great Void, their sisters and brothers felled by the fanning fury of powered chains. Light greets light as death rises skyward leaving bodies to blades that swept through their silence. Their cries–invisible, soundless–call out: Do not seek to contain, to control your grief. Let your tears flow like a river descending into the sea. Fall to your knees and weep for us—the trees. Weep for yourselves. Weep until your face is clean, your eyes, clear. Peer into blue-lit wonder. A cloudless sky welcomes you home.

Lucia King ~ Luray, Va.

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