death in the woods

i walk in the woods every day.  i go to a couple of different places, but mostly i am on the same paths on a daily basis.  i see the changes that happen, the seasons, the growth of trees and smaller plants, the new bird and animal nests, the changing paths of humans as the natural world changes, and over many, many years of walking the same paths, i see the deaths of trees.

generally speaking, trees fall suddenly.  they are upright and strong and then a storm hits-- the wind blows too strongly in the wrong direction, or another tree falls and knocks them over.  trees are big, slow moving creatures and this sudden change in their stature does not instantly signal their death.  depending on the magnitude of the break in their trunk, they may live on for months or years after a bad fall.  sometimes they begin dying at once-- but it is still a slow- treacle- like death process.  their leaves slowly shrivel and fall over a period of weeks, over months their trunks start to change color and gray-out.  their energy goes from lively, deep, and strong to a weak pulse to nothing over a long, long time.  over the years the carpenter ants and molds move in-- but it takes many, many years for a big tree to truly die and decay back into the earth.

in our fast-paced world we think of death as a knife-edge-- one is either alive or dead.  watching the trees-- i know different.



Funhouse Design said...

Great piece!

shopgirl said...

thanks! nice to hear from you--

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