© Cheryl Thomas

One hot sunny afternoon I was sitting in a forest glade that was located on the way to my home in Avola, British Columbia. In front of me was a squirrel midden that was so huge it took up an entire tree stump—all that was left of a tree some 3 feet in diameter. The tree had given up its life some 50 or more year prior, no doubt to provide lumber for a home.

I have never seen the like—cool under the canopy of spruce and other evergreen limbs, a fine ‘sitting log’ on which to rest, the smell of the earth surrounding me… It was here I wrote the following poem. It has influenced my life ever since.

On the way to town that day I had climbed the mountain a couple of kilometres, to discover the logging contractor had set up for business. I had sat on the edge of the landing: watching, listening—becoming acutely aware of the trees falling under the attack of men with power saws, hearing the voices of the trees screaming as the saws’ teeth ripped into them.

I had run—towards the town, away from the forest—but I have never forgotten how I let them down that day…all days.

How? How can I, one single person, how can I help? Perhaps… by sharing my poem.


End of a pine tree branch

The end of a pine tree branch, one of many gorgeous photos part of foxypar4's photostream (Flickr Creative Commons)

The gnarled roots yawned…

    A quiet restful feeling

Greenly creeping up sacrificed trees

    A culture; entire

A culture of living, interconnected lives

    Each sharing, contributing

Each trying to survive


Ultimately – to Conquer.

Feathery branches of the trees

    Bend heavily

Pulling at the wind

    Holding back, conquering

Trying to survive


To control the wind, the water

    The very elements

In a quiet, peaceful; yet interconnected manner.

A thought on humans…

    Brash sounding; powerful machines

Churn on at our command

    Destroying, disfiguring …

Why? Why are we so different?


Bending heavily

    Each sharing, contributing

Each trying to survive


NB. Cheryl sent this to me after reading Donna Milner’s World Without Violence. She wrote it around 1990, and it was published in the North Thompson Times. She keeps a framed copy as a reminder.

To see more of foxypar4’s photos, click here.

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