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Monday, 19 March 2012



An arborist about 25 metres above the ground felling a eucalyptus tree in sections with a chain saw in a public park at Kallista, Victoria, Australia: photo by John O'Neill, 9 July 2008

The myopia
of our utopia

severs mystery
from history

as limb from tree
-- the chain

saw buzzing
in the rain.

Fields of Sawdust (Bolinas)
: photo by blmurch, 15 September 2007


manik sharma said...

That second photo almost takes me into the flintstone-ian world..where you would hardly see(as far as i can remember)wood in everythying but its parent form..We are becoming dinosaurian in the size of our achievements and probably the lack of moral motivation(the constant absentism of thankfulness too i guess)..

Lets wait for the rain to stop someday..And we may then dig holes 5 metres deep rather than going 25 metres high...



Oh my, from the public park at Kallista, Victoria, Australia to those Bea's photo of those sawdust fields hereabouts -- I wish someone would fell that big eucalyptus in my neighbor's yard (the one that keeps dropping branches on my car parked in my driveway) -- "buzz" "buzz" "buzz". . .


light coming into clouds above shadowed
plane of ridge, towhee calling in field
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

word in relation to picture
of it, placed between

form for something, as such
is there, still green

sunlit white cloud to the left of point,
shadowed canyon of ridge across from it

Anonymous said...

Nature/Culture/Nature/Culture . . .


When your tall stand
of Scots Pine had to come down
(or fall anyway)
the turpentine beetle
with the lumber cleared away
it looked tidy but naked
and you hid some tears

. . . till you saw the saplings
already sprouted from the understory . . .
pointing ‒

nodded remembering
my crew-cut
that first day of school

(I think my mother was afraid that i'd catch lice from another kid??!
I think you call it a buzz-cut here - I know it's a very tenuous link to the posting Tom)

Anonymous said...

oops that would be 'understorey'

my spelling gets muddled these days because of US and UK variations

TC said...

Thanks my friends.

Dal, as a man who fixes houses, you'll know about decomposition of wood.

We are painfully familiar with it too. Dry rot is our permanent companion. We live in a century-old structure on a heavily overgrown north slope facing into all the weather the North Pacific could throw at this continent during that century, with a subterranean creek beneath, and no light on the subject since the Permian period.

But when some years back a temporary neighbour, a week after he bought the place next door (as an investment naturally, he was about 29 years old, those were the days), called in "arborists", and they sheared off the great lower limb micro ecologies of the towering borderline redwood (also 100 years old, but bigger than both of us), one's heart wept for the raccoons, bluejays, squirrels et al. who had made those tiers their own.

A few years later, another owner, another arborist.

A half century ago I planted baby eucalypti on a patch of windswept promontory in West Marin (not far from where Bea Murch took that wonderful lower photo -- eucalypti love that strip of earth as much as they do Australia) and later heard those babies had grown to a towering height, though what with changing times, maybe they've all been taken down.

One leaves, and tries not to know.

Today (coincidentally) the big utility company cranes and magnum-magnum chainsaws are due to arrive out front for a major exercise of territorial hegemony that will cut off our power for an unlimited time, which ought to be ... interesting.

TC said...

Tree Talk

Anonymous said...


aditya said...

What a poem Tom.

myopia mystery
utopia history

severs ...

One can hear the buzzing clear-ly (one is almost tempted to say that the sound of it as hackneyed as.. the rain itself)

Arborists generally focus on the health and safety of individual plants and trees...

reads the description on the wiki page. However the picture next to the description (the one which you have used) gives rise to such a glorious/nonchalant irony.. that the ones who have never planted a baby eucalypti won't ever know if there is anything odd about anything.

(or surely i have missed something)

But Nature is so uncomfortable. Grass is hard and lumpy and damp, and full of dreadful black insects. Why, even Morris's poorest workman could make you a more comfortable seat than the whole of Nature can....

TC said...

Aditya, your post takes us to the heights and then again down from heavens to earth, the great and necessary descent.

Every time the people around us hire an arborist, there is havoc for days. Great limbs come crashing down, crushing the innocuous imperiled impatiens.

A dead limb of one of the elders of this ragged urban micro-forest came down in a storm, about fifteen years ago, and penetrated abruptly through a skylight into the sleeping chamber of a neighbor, who was angry and surprised. And litigious.

That was an arm and a leg's worth of trouble.

The old trees, senior citizens, swaying in the wind as though in the throes of dementia.

The explosive launching of a utilities pole two days ago entailed a great fury of buzzing and severing of branch from limb and limb from tree, I hid away in darkness from the spectacle.