Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tree hugging, tree cutting...

It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the nation's need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted.

~ Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 Arbor Day Message

Its funny the ways a man's life can go...

I've heard it said that men have two choices in life... work or prison. When it gets down to it thats about right. Basically. If it were that simple. But its not. Life provides quagmires, dichotomies, predicaments and downright challenges to any human that ventures beyond their front door.

As a thinking, working, adult male I've often found a particular line of work... unfulfilling. I've had those jobs. As a teen I worked at McDonald's. And for the trivia minded among you, this particular unit (at PCH in Lomita, Ca. just west of Western Ave) was owned by Warren Dobbins who by marriage to his wife Dorothy was an in-law to Ray Kroc and his wife Joan, founders of the McD chain. I did good. At 18 I was an assistant manager and making fair money for a teen and the times. But oh no... we don't want to be completely professional and actually get to go to Hamburger U. Once in a while we still need to vent our boyish enthusiasm and fall prey to spontaneous capers and career damaging situations... late one nite before closing up we emptied the ice machine into the parking lot, as we often did for cleaning.

Well, that big pile of crushed ice was great for making snowballs and therefore it wasn't entirely inconceivable that a bunch of young males, left to their own testosterone driven wiles, would figure out that a snowball fight would be a great idea at 2am.

Wrong. Again. The neighbors turned us into to the boss and Allan lost any possibility of a career as a professional burgerflingen' manager. sigh...

But when I started selling lumber I enjoyed it. Sure I knew that it took trees getting cut to provide the wood I was selling but wood is good stufff. Handling quality beautiful lumber is rewarding. So after brother Marty gave me the chance to get hired at JE Higgins Lumber Co. in Santa Maria I was selling wood. Loading trucks, pulling orders, driving trucks for deliveries, getting awesome slivers.... A job which moved me out of Fresno and back to the central coast. And it was from Higgins in Santa Maria that I moved to Oregon and Jawbone Flats.

From lumber whore to defender of forests in one fell swoop, one 1000 mile drive... and then... after learning all the ways in which old-growth forests were so necessary, so worth saving, I end up selling redwood lumber for over a decade. Just up until last year in fact.

And now, here I am, once again, speaking for the trees. Speaking for those with no voice in our modern world. Such speech will get you labelled by the way.

You will bear the burden of such apellations as "tree-hugger" or "eco-freak" (this one I'm fond of because it is sooo inclusive... so many ways to be a nuisance to the puckered amongst us) or you might even be known as an *gasp!* "enviroh-mentalist." So...? Am I a hypocrite? Am I not an environmentalist? Am I a victim of circumstance? A rogue among lambs or a warrior among rogues? Or, as I suspect, am I a multi-faceted individual with bumps, warts and no clue as to where the hell I am or what I'm doing but putting on a good face so I don't look too silly among my neighbors? There are just too many choices to really decide... kinda like the ice cream or beer sections at a big grocery store. Or the shampoo aisle! Now there's a topic for a rant...

From trees and the hugging of to rogues and from rogues to shampoo... dang... I digress again... sigh...

Next time I will stay on topic. I swear... really...

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to talk to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.

~ Herman Hesse
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