Bleeding Giants

May 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Every morning I try to go for a walk in a wooded area close to where I live. Some weeks ago  somebody decided to clear parts of the forest and now silent stumps greet me in the first part of the tour. Then, these last days, some of these stumps have started to bleed. I guess that the arrival of spring has sent a message to the roots to start pumping sap to the trunk without realizing that there’s no trunk to send it to … Whatever the biological explanation, it remains an impressive image.

P.S. Thinking about trees, I need to mention how they evoke different types of feelings and attitudes according to were you come from. In other words,  I believe that our view of trees is to a certain degree culturally conditioned. When I was living in Venezuela, and I´m sure that this could be the case in many other countries in the area, trees were understood slightly different from Norway. Apart from the case of the harvesting of forests for the purpose of feeding the furniture, building or cellulose industry, the cutting of trees at an individual level was done for the purposes of: (1) eliminating a tree that was planted perhaps too close to a sidewalk or it was the wrong kind of tree and hence the powerful root growth was lifting the pavement or whatever was close to it, (2) eliminating a tree that was casting too many leaves over a patio, swimming pool, or whatever area that therefore required too often the raking of leaves, (3) perhaps a personal conviction that the tree was ugly or not needed in that particular spot. Yet, in general, I will venture to say that trees are needed and appreciated primarily because the provided a much-needed shadow cover in the heat of the midday.

In Norway I was enormously surprised to discover that trees, again on an individual level, are cut down for very different reasons: (1) because people would like to have more sunshine and a tree casting a shadow on your balcony, garden or patio is not appreciated, (2) because people would like to have more view and sometimes trees can hinder an otherwise panoramic view. Having grown up with an exuberance of sunshine, I certainly love the cool shadow that a tree provides. It takes time to learn differently.

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