The last tree falls in the forest

Letter to the Editor by Richard Bruns, May 24, 2018


Not yet addressed in the Measure C controversy, and depending on the actual oak subspecies (if I have the designation correct), oaks can live anywhere from 100 to 1,500 years.

I do not know the specific variety of the groves of the magnificent oak canopies that provide protection against erosion on our beautiful valley hillsides and hilltops.

They look like mostly black oak from the valley floor, but whichever they are, and however old they are, they are in a very real sense the last of their kind.

That is, it is highly unlikely that any tree anywhere on the planet will be allowed to grow to their own full genetic maturity. And why? Because humans will cut them down for housing.

Or they will cut them down because they block their view of the rising moon or the setting sun or of the neighbor’s swimming pool or for room to expand.

Their redwood party deck or finally build that long-coveted tennis court. But they will be cut down and the magnificence of those giant round oaken canopies will be as rare as old growth redwoods; as rare as the black rhinoceros, the spotted owl, the African elephant or the African Baobab Tree.

Or the Saint Helena Gumwood. Once these grand oaks are cut, that’s it.

Remember the Zen koan: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it still make a sound?”

If the last tree in the forest falls silently, will those who cut it cry out?

Will those who take those trees answer the children's questions, where have the trees all gone? And why have the wells all gone dry?”

Richard Bruns