Evergreen

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There is a place by my house, hidden away and tucked in the back, and almost no one ventures in. See, my neighborhood is the epitome of the Pacific Northwest, urban, yet lined with a suggestion of nature, Evergreens etch out the lines of the world, the mountains rise with the sun and the moon shines through most days. It truly is beautiful here. Yet, this world is fading, even here in our evergreen Eden. My world is being slowly claimed by the greed of contractors, by the rent-for-a-quarter, stack-a-shack condos that seem to grow faster and thicker than the bushes.

Ever since I was very small I have breathed the air of the Northwest with a certain passion. This place, by my house, it is my heart, my get away, the place I go to feel alive. Up a street from mine, down the road half a mile, past the new developments of houses that all look the same, past the house of my best-friend-so-close-she-could-be-my-sister, past the sign (bent like it’s dying) that proclaims ‘dead end’ to any road seekers, and down the road that grows increasing broken with disuse and tree roots as it is reclaimed by the world. Here I am free. It’s nothing special at first sight, pretty, yes, but not anything that you would explore with vigor, however, if you traversed the hills and valleys and braves the nettles and skunk grass this dead end becomes a portal to a new world.

I have spent many an hour, cozied up against the surprisingly warm branches of a tall evergreen while the thick branches protect my laptop from the cool raindrops that fall constantly here. I feel like an elf (as dorky as it is) sitting up in those treetops. Sometimes I am with my friend, sometimes I am not, and yet the feeling is never the same. These are the things that many people don’t realize; even some of those who cry out for the preservation of the forests have not had an experience like mine.

Something is changing though. The beauty that has stood for who knows how long, the clarity you feel when you first step beyond the dead end, my passion, the only place I can be a tree imp and not be considered a freak, it’s all going away.

I walked down the path, past my friend’s house and passed the dead end sign, do you know what I found? Stark, white, plastic and out of place. There was a poster proclaiming a death sentence to my dead end. Fifty-nine houses to go up over the trees, to over define, over grow, and outplace my paradise. So, here’s my question, is this what the world is coming to now? Rows of conformity? Houses that look as though they are cloned one right after the other? The ‘Stepford’ houses we call them. I don’t understand who would give up this sort of freedom for that kind of compliance.

So this is my outcry. What is wrong with us? Why do we want to destroy ourselves? This isn’t about the houses, or about the fact that they are hurting me personally by cutting down my trees. It is instead that by destroying the world around us, we are standing on a shrinking island, painting ourselves into a corner. You see, the world around us defines us. It is our history, from the first day that man stood among the trees and looked around him. Without them we are taking away our identity and not only that but when our identity is gone, so are we. They are taking part of mine, and hard as I try there is nothing I can do to stop them. They tell me it is progress but I have to laugh, what is progressive about this? What stops us from building alongside the trees? Even in them? No, that isn’t progressive enough. To have progress we must destroy. Look at what we are destroying, identity, personality, history, reason; are these not the things that define us? Have they never walked into the woods? This is my solution. Try it. Walk into the woods before you break them down. Look at what we are tearing down. Who and what we are hurting. Think about it.

“I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”





-Henry David Thoreau





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