Wednesday, October 15, 2008

::A fickle and transient thing::

Today several huge pieces of equipment rumbled into the field next door. Now they are crouched near the forests edge, cutting and cutting and cutting. I can hear snaps and cracks ringing out as tree after tree is felled. There grows a mountain of trunks, soon to be stripped and hauled away. And I have been fighting with my emotions all day. Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry. Things change. Someday home will be a place where no trees ever get cut down.

When we first drove by the piece of land that would become our home, the trees made me want to stay. While Aidan loves the open fields, I prefer a nestled home; one that is tucked away in the greenery. I think my young heart was set and molded by Laura Ingalls' little house in the woods. Small house; big trees. Shelter. Snow-capped trees. Calls echoing in the woods. I wanted that then and there was no going back.

At the time of our purchase, we were told that the property that scoops around us was a single parcel belonging to the neighbour. Because we knew she was here for the long haul, and already working a sizable field of her own, we felt reassured that the trees around us would stay. But there was always the absentee farmer to the West of us. . . A most curious man, to have carved out such an *oddly shaped field.* While I had never met the man, I felt kindly towards him for having clearly been reluctant to simply clear cut his swath of woods. Instead, he seemed to have gently chiseled away a space for his crops; as though he and his trees had some sort of understanding. There it sits, looking as though the field was an organic extension of the trees, rather than the land scar that so many postage-stamp fields appear to be from the vantage point of an airplane.

A few times a year machinery would appear, a crop would be sown and then harvested, snow would fall. . . It would start again. Good system. I banked on this being a perpetual routine for at least the next decade. Yes, I must admit, I had questioned the feasibility of having to seed and harvest around all of those odd corners. But obviously Mr. farmer has been getting along just fine with his odd little field for quite some time. And so I went and did something I should never have done: I went and foolishly assigned permanence to my home's landscape. In so doing, the panoramic image of home in my mind is being painfully wrenched apart with each tree that is cut.

One year into our life here and we are already being faced the sobering realities of farming and finance. Times are hard. Times are expensive. Trees don't pay nearly as much as wheat, especially if they're just standing there looking pretty. . . Of course this was bound to happen. Mr. farmer will make far more money from his large postage-stamp. But, silly me. I couldn't help but hang a heavy measure of value upon the beauty of a bunch of trees that didn't belong to me. But, hey. Beauty hurts, right? Yeah, beauty hurts all right. It hurts because it is a fickle and transient thing.