Think Before You Cut Down That Tree

by Catherine Jeltes in Outside My Art

I have an affinity for trees.

They set the stage for mood.  Ever walk into a grove of old trees?  They command respect simply by presence.  Lean against the trunk.  Soak up the warmth from the sun.  Feel the braille-like texture of bark beneath your hands.  Breathe deeply of the scent of soil and foliage.  Listen to the rustle of leaves and branches in the wind.  It is an experience that connects to the energy of the the earth like almost nothing else.
Trees live longer than humans, surviving and thriving in nature’s elements and harboring entire ecosystems.  They are essential to life on our planet, so it puzzles me when healthy trees are casually destroyed without thought or conscience, merely because a property owner is inconvenienced by upkeep.
Some trees are necessarily harvested and cut down all the time for resources, property development, improper placement (ie. a large species is planted below power lines), etc. but at this point in the game, we should know better–and have more respect for our planet–than to indiscriminately label a tree as “an unnecessary inconvenience TO ME” and have a hundred years of growth and history destroyed for no reason other than laziness.  The inherent problem with that mentality is the “me” perspective–the flaw of the human race.  At what point do we realize that we are guests on this planet–that we are merely a part of an ecosystem that is shared by all life?  We have a responsibility to use all of the information available to keep this planet–OUR planet (not yours, not mine, not theirs, but OURS) as healthy as we can for our children and our children’s children.  So many things in life are out of our control (such as acts of terrorism, world hunger) but choosing to destroy a tree is not.
My neighborhood recently lost two healthy one hundred plus years old trees on city-owned property simply because new home owners didn’t want the maintenance.  I knew the elderly woman who planted one of the trees as a little girl in 1915.  Now a part of our neighborhood history and landscape has been permanently lost.  It sickens and saddens me.
Think before you cut down that tree.
All artwork © Catherine Jeltes, Gallery Zoo Art. All Rights Reserved. 
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