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Saturday, July 07, 2012

It's Disheartening To Consider We've Used Up These Proud Giants And Brought Them Near To Extinction



What? No, I'm not taking about the trees. There's plenty of trees. I live in western Maine. A tree is a weed. I'm talking about the men. Those men you see working there in the video. They've been hunted nearly to extinction as far as I can tell. They were marvelous.


The forests shown in this film are filled with sequoia sempervirens again, planted by the same men we just watched cutting them down. There are currently around 900,000 acres of redwoods being "actively managed," a modern euphemism for being logged and replanted. They do it more intelligently than they once did, I guess; but there's currently plenty of forest on fire out west that was being "intelligently managed," so that's no guarantee that intelligence involves any wisdom.  It's a dirty little secret that you can cut down the trees and use the wood for something useful for people every once in a while, or wait for nature to supply bugs and fires to get rid of them -- but one way or the other, they don't last forever.

They're cutting second-growth trees in California now. 900,000 acres is 1.35 Rhode Islands, for those of you keeping score. Rhode Island isn't that big, you might say, but I wouldn't want to rake it. They leave a bunch of gigantic sequoias alone in National Parks now, so we can go look at them, which is as good a use for them as building another split-level ranch to get foreclosed on, I guess. I don't know where you go to look at men like the men in the video now. They're probably panhandling in San Francisco and drinking mouthwash.

I noticed some inconvenient inconvenient truth at around the six-minute mark. I'm sure they'll airbrush that out of there next time.

12 comments:

Leslie said...

I bet they slept well. Not one overweight, and all well dressed. Almost a different universe...

Tom Hyland said...

I'm not quite sure what you heard as an "inconvenient" truth around minute six. The narrator described some of these trees being nearly 4,000 years old. And that these enormous old sequoias used to live in Europe and other places but no longer due to rising temperatures. True... that's something a lot of people will forever refuse to believe. Even when we see maddened polar bears running down the streets devouring people.

Anonymous said...

All the really big trees around here
(60"+ Ponderosa) they cut down and and hauled them to S. Cal to make orange crates. That was 95 years ago.
I would love to have some of those planks in the video. You could build us the coolest dining room table ever.

Listening to your Governor makes me want to move to Maine.

Sam L. said...

Gee, Tom, what I remember hearing was, it was warm before and colder now. I replayed it, and I heard correctly.

Sixty Grit said...

Do not disturb the well made-up mind. The proper temperature for the earth was settled long ago. For me, it was when the ice was 2 miles thick over New York. The good ol' days is what we called 'em.

Wait, something caused that ice to melt? Giant sloths in giant SUVs? That will never do!

Casey Klahn said...

My sage old man, who was a giant of the northwest variety, replied the following when asked, "should they cut down the big trees?"

Dad:

"If they don't cut them down, they'll just fall down."

And, another time:

"They're not that valuable, because they are full of rot and bugs, anyway."

This is as close to truth as was ever spoken about the old growth forests. I was raised on logging, in the rain forests of Washington. Here, the forest is so virile, it replants itself. We log third and fourth growth stands, when the gubmint allows it.

Anonymous said...

SC, did you put me onto the "Stump to Ship" vid in the sidebar on that redwood one? Or have i mentioned it in a comment here before? Anyhow, if anyone's listening it's a real good video of logging in old Machias ME, narrated by a droll old Mainer of that bygone age. "Augur handles" ha ha.

Machias makes Rumford look like Schenectady. La Maine Profonde, as it were. I like it there.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Leslie- Hope you're doing well.

Hi Tom- You heard it exactly backwards. In your defense, there is a polar bear drinking out of my birdbath right now. He was here first, so we leave him be.

Hi anon- I've used redwood and cedar building materials. Before the coming of pressure treated wood (ugh) it was common to use it in places that bugs and rot were a problem. Marvelous stuff.

Hi Sam- Yes, you did.

Hi Sixty Grit- The airbrushing is being supplied intracranially now, I guess.

Hi Casey- I thought of you when I watched it, as I remembered that your father might be one of those guys. They were mighty.

Hi anon- I wrote about that video about a year ago: We're All Auger Handles Now. Thanks for reading and being a neighbor.

Tom Hyland said...

Wow... I DID hear the absolute opposite! Strange. Because I listened to it a couple of times before I posted. Must be the heat.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Tom- Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sam L. said...

It OK, Tom--it's that Damned AlGorebal Worming that makes it seem so hot.

Anonymous said...

Jesus.... There is not a one of those axe-men wearing gloves. I'm proud of my crop of healthy calluses from Honest Work; building an adobe addition, but my hands would still bleed after 30 min of that kind of axing. I just want to shake one of those guys' hands.

--Gray