Wit's End

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Last Scene

..............Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

        ~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It

A recent storm that battered Seattle and Vancouver caused me to look for photos of the trees that fell, but the story of an earlier storm, last December, popped up with this photograph.  As usual, wind is blamed for damage when clearly the problem is a tree that is covered in lethal cankers, and rotted on the inside.  The accompanying report indicated the terrible toll the storm took, not only leaving thousands without power, but a 61 year old man hospitalized from a tree that fell on his house, and a fire that resulted when a tree fell on a propane tank.  A teenage boy died when a tree fell on his car, and a homeless man sleeping in a tent died from a fallen tree as well.
Even earlier, in April 2014, a storm toppled at least a dozen large trees in a park in Tacoma, Washington, "like matchsticks" which was no wonder since they, too, were rotted.
Is it any wonder wildfires are burning like never before?  All that rot produces methane, which is highly flammable.
Today I went through Oldwick and witnessed once again what I see occurring everywhere I go - trees being cut down.  The sound of chain saws and chippers is deafening, and there is a stink of diesel fumes and scorched wood in the air.
The shady little village I love is being denuded of trees - those that don't fall over are being pre-emptively removed.  My favorite, the magnificent copper beech, is still standing - but it has been heavily pruned (amputated) and it hasn't got much time left.  I took this photo in June of 2009, because I already felt that the crown was disturbingly thin, and discovered that the leaves were covered with aphids, a well-known effect of exposure to pollution.  I noticed that winter that sap was leaking from the trunk, staining the bark.
This is how it looked this morning:

The only thing that will end this horror is oblivion.

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