Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trunks


Murphy looked out into the virgin forest and felt sick to his stomach.  It was a marvel of nature.  Each tree had stood for generations undisturbed.  Each tree was the home to dozens of animals and thousands of other organisms.  The trees were a living record of the past.

Murphy took out his digital camera and began to take pictures.  He had to document as much as he could.  Soon the trees would be gone and his pictures would be all that remained.

He never expected to fall in love with trees.  It was a potentially life threatening love affair in the logging industry.  However, it happened all the same.  Every tree that fell wounded Murphy to his core.

There had to be another way but he couldn’t see it.  He had tried to convince his supervisor Glen to move down river.  Those trees were already limping along.  A recent fire had charred them and burned away their vitality.  He said the wood wasn’t good enough.

It would have been a mercy killing.  Not now.  Not with these behemoths of the forest.  They were the roots of the entire canopy.  They were the strong backbone giving inspiration to the other trees.  They were the grand protectors.

Murphy walked down and gently touched the bark of his new oldest friends.  He took pictures of the animals looking down on him.  He took pictures of the massive roots creeping out into the forest for dozens of feet.  They would not go quietly or easily.  His company would have to fight.

However, he knew in the end the beautiful trees standing before him would lose.  They always lost in the end.  That was just the nature of things.  His company needed the wood and the wood they wanted only came from the broken bodies of his new friends.

It was a dilemma that had no easy solution.  Murphy sighed and continued to take pictures.  If only there was some way to use his pictures in an advantageous way.

An idea then popped into his head.  What if his camera offered a hidden salvation?  It had sentenced huge trunks of nature to death and destruction.  However, it had also saved hundreds if not thousands of trees and animals.  Not all wood was worth the trouble.

He knew the trouble spots.  He knew what Glen hated to see.  He knew the problematic scenarios that made harvesting unprofitable.  When something was deemed unprofitable other solutions were found.  New areas were found.

Murphy cursed himself for not thinking of the solution earlier.  Glen didn’t know about his newfound devotion to his tall friends.  He could guide the axes and bulldozers.  He could decide who would live and die.  The power was intoxicating and frightening.  Did Murphy really have the right to make such decisions about living entities older than his grandparents?

Murphy decided he had no choice.  They couldn’t protect themselves.  The animals relying on them couldn’t protect themselves either.  There were plenty of other trees in the forest.  He would just have to help guide the hand of man.

He took more pictures.  Glen would hate them.  It would be better if he could go back to his trailer and use Photoshop to edit them.  However, he knew that wasn’t an option.  He would just have to use what he could out in the environment itself to discourage Glen from taking the backbone.  As long as they survived the rest of the forest would limp along a little bit longer.

He thought of Janice and Paula.  Would they be proud of him?  He was risking his job.  He was risking their future.  Would they understand?  Should he even tell them?  Should he really turn his back on ten good years just for some mindless trees and some dumb animals?

Murphy didn’t know the answer.  However, as he walked up the hill closest to camp he saw the giant clearing.  Hundreds of trees had been ripped away.  Only their naked vulnerable trunks remained.

Murphy made up his mind.  He would finish up the job.  He would try to guide Glen to the easy profit that could be found down river.  He would try to guide him away from the core of the forest.  He would then go home and never come back.

The trunks told him everything.  He knew it was a necessary part of the world.  Humanity needed the supplies his company provided.  However, looking at those trunks he realized although it was necessary he was no longer the man for the job.

It was probably going to take some time to convince Glen.  In the mean time he would do what he could to reduce the damage.  After it was all over it was time to switch careers.

He looked down at his camera.


*****
Today's poem in honor of National Poetry Month comes from Pacific Melody's blog.  Please go check it out and give her lots of love.

http://pacificmelody.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/diminishing-returns/

Thanks!

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