A Sad Goodbye – WPC
“A fool sees not the same tree a wise man sees.”
This week, sadly, we say goodbye to the WP-supported Weekly Photo Challenge. My first WPC response, believe it or not, was nearly 6 years ago in August of 2012. For that challenge, “Growth”, I posted a photo essay about a visit to the Redwood forests of California – definitely an All Time Favorite. That post can be seen here. I thought it only natural that this final WPC response also be about trees. This time the magnificent redwoods are joined by shimmering aspen groves and ancient live oaks dripping with Spanish Moss among others.
“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”
Karle Wilson Baker
Saying goodbye to something we hold dear is never easy. That point was driven home inexorably in a novel I’ve just finished, The Overstory by Richard Powell. Apparently, Mr Powell shares my sense of awe and wonder at the magnificence of trees as well as their importance as a key element of our world. He weaves myth, science, and character development into a compelling story both lyrical and imaginative.
“Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Mr. Powell’s novel has received rave reviews, and rightly so. Scientific facts are presented in a way that is both understandable and wondrous. Landmark historical events are woven within the context of his story’s development, and characters are written in a way that we truly care what happens to them. Plot lines that seem far-fetched, such as living on a platform high in a giant redwood for a year or environmental protesters camping out in forest areas slated for clear-cutting are in fact based on actual events.
“A forest is not a wilderness, but a community of souls who speak to one another on the wind.”
Anthony T. Hincks
The novel focuses on the nature of trees and forests; their place in our ecosystem, our growing knowledge of their complexity, and the essential importance of their contribution to our planet. Our future – the air we breathe, the climate in which we exist, the food we eat and the creatures by which we are surrounded – all these and more depend on the forests we have only recently begun to appreciate.
“Listen, and you can hear the forest breathe.”
I found the way the author personified the trees and the forests to be one of the more interesting aspects of the novel. Much as we now know dolphins and whales can communicate without human-defined language, so too Mr. Powell encourages us to believe that trees have a compelling message to deliver, if only we are open to hearing it.
“The world’s forests are shared stolen treasure that we must put back for our children’s future.”
Compellingly presented through his characters’ experiences, Mr. Powell’s outlook on the future of our forests, and therefore our planet, is somewhat pessimistic. Rather than a dire prediction, let us hope his means instead to awaken us to the fact that the world’s resources will thrive only when we begin to recognize their importance.
The Overstory is the first work I’ve read that comes close to portraying the emotions I felt walking among the redwoods. Then and now, words fail to describe the power and grandeur of these massive specimens. In my previous post I mentioned a National Geographic photograph which can now be found here. The photo is actually a composite of 83 photographs and is the only one I’ve seen that even begins to show the immensity and majesty of these titans. A copy of the photograph from the original 2009 issue still hangs in my home office.
As for me, The Weekly Photo Challenge may be gone but I will still be posting, as I hope will most of the other participants. Perhaps we will find a new way to continue the community we’ve grown to know and appreciate through the years.
A special thanks to Sally of LensandPens for the book recommendation, as well as a sincere thanks to the editorial team at WordPress for their creativity and commitment to us all. It was so much fun to see their “all time favorites” – I look forward to seeing yours!
“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”