U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Before and After. The Worst of 2011 For Me

As I remember, the last time I felt awfully bad about dying plants was three years ago. Then, my Privet (Ligustrum japonicum) was hit by falling snow and my Cordyline froze (I Am Not Crying, Am I? ). While the Cordyline was gone for good, the Privet was given a second chance. It hasn't recovered 100% yet, but it survived, gave new growth and looks very promising now. I didn't know then how much worse the pain of losing plants can be even when those plants are not technically yours. Without further deliberations, let me show you what I mean.
A forest is also a garden, isn't it? Nature garden.

Before (Dec. 2008, snowy pictures) and After (Fall 2011)

Now, I know what sound I hate the most. It's the sound of a logging saw and the loud noise of falling trees crushing other trees on their way down. There is an agony of living things dying in that sound.
This summer, we hired a tree service company to trim several tall fir trees around our house. We also got permission from our Home Owners Association to remove one tree. The roots of that tree could harm our driveway. It wasn't an easy decision. It took our family several days to discuss if that tree needed to be cut down. Before the tree cutters came, I told my boys to go and say Good Bye to that fir and thank it for the beauty it gave us as well as for the shade it provided.
A bit later, I happened to look out of the window. One of the boys was standing at the tree and touching its trunk. I watched him. He stayed there for several long minutes! He was talking to the tree!
We never took that tree down. It is still there.
I can't tell you how many times I thought about that after the whole forest was gone in October.
I don't know what my kids will do when they grow up. They say 'never say never'. But, I hope they will never buy a piece of land near their own neighborhood with one specific purpose - to harvest all the trees and sell them to China. I hope they will never destroy such beauty for financial purposes. I hope they will never be disliked (softly saying) by all the people who used to come to the forest to feel themselves as part of nature, to enjoy its greatness and beauty and to stay sane in the whirlpool of stressful life.
How can we, people, come to believing that we can do with nature what we want and what we need? How can a person sleep after destroying not one, not ten, but hundreds of trees? How can people believe that their rights are more superior than the Earth and what belongs to it?
 How can something that is legally right be so ugly and morally wrong?

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS


  1. Tatyana, those pictures alone, in their contrast, speak volumes. I understand the need to cut trees occasionally, especially for safety reasons, or to manage disease, but I too loathe the sight of entire woodlands, whole habitats, leveled. Very sad.

  2. This is very upsetting... L

  3. Doesn't it just break your heart? To see such beauty gone. It takes so long for them to grow back. They are putting a new road around the state park a half mile from my home and they have cut down so many trees. It looks so sad and terrible. So I would really be heart broken over a forest being cut down.

  4. That is really very sad.

  5. Very sad. I remember on our way driving down to Oregon all the clear cutting we saw. I know they plant new ones but it just isn't the same.

  6. That´s really sad! At first I thought that a storm had been takig all those trees down... We´ve been up to that several times these last years. In fall 1999 we hade the worst storm for many years, it did cost the country a lot of trees. Those forests won´t look the same in my lifetime. And the last storm (talking about it we have one right now) a few weeks ago even made a huge barge tear up and meander along the coast. Finaly it stoped on land, it´s not even close to the water, outside my daughter's manager's house. Now they don´t even know if or how they are abel to move it since it´s so huge.

    Taking trees down like they´ve done to your forest... WHY?

  7. It is heartbreaking when you see it on TV. But now you're actually living it. To see a whole forest go down like that, awful!

  8. Dear Tatyana, I am not a sentimental person at all, but your post brought tears to my eyes. How can it be that this incredible beautiful and magical forest was cut down only for the sake of profit? And that this is even legal? Even though seeing this made me very sad I am glad you posted about it. Maybe it encourages people to be more conscious and stand up to defend, protect and preserve nature, whenever they can.

  9. Oh, how heartbreaking - and for so many reasons. I mourned so much just to lose some trees behind my fence - I can't imagine what loss you must be feeling.

  10. What a powerful post, Tatyana. I could feel your pain. The ending of this forest is just tragic.

    I remember when the school was in the process of widening the parking lot. I just happen to drive by while they were murdering a beautiful Birch tree. The sound of the branches cracking against the weight of the bucket machine thing about made me vomit. It was awful. It really felt like murder.

    It all seems so senseless doesn't it? I hope the owner of this piece of land will replant.

    I'm glad you're teaching your sons to honor all living things. How precious it must have been to see him outside talking to the beloved tree.

    May 2012 be a year of celebrating the living instead of killing it! Amen?

  11. Tatyana,

    I hate to see forests cut down. But we keep growing in population and need more buildings. What get me is razing down a building to make a larger one in its place. Or leaving a building empty to more into more space.

    those photos are awesome.

  12. So sad to see the destruction of that beautiful forest! But good for you teaching your children to respect all living things!

  13. Such a good post - and so sad.

  14. What a wonderful study of a forest. In some of the images I wanted to shout -Bev Doolittle send in the painted horses. Are you familiar with her work?

  15. An amazing sequence of photos, no words needed!

  16. Ah, they were magnificent! It will interesting to see how fast the forest returns. I wonder if they will replant, or if they will allow nature to do it herself.

  17. Such a beautiful forest ! So very sad ...

  18. There are lots of these conifer plantations here in north-west Ireland...they suit the type of land we have here. I like you feel heartbroken when I see these devestating brutal and horrible.

  19. Tatyana, this post brought tears to my eyes, and my heart was just thumping. It pains me to lose just one tree from disease or disaster, but a whole forest is unspeakable. I have only been a visitor to the Pacific Northwest and not a resident, but I would say such trees are a treasure. I realize the logging industry is important, but there are better ways than clear cutting an entire forest!

  20. I hope there is a beautiful forest in Heaven for those trees.

  21. This is heartbreaking! I got upset when a few trees came down near my house during a blizzard a couple of years ago, but when my HOA actually cut some that made me angry and sad on a much deeper level. I can only imagine what you're feeling to see your forest go like this.

  22. Świetnie pokazałaś kontrasty : piękny las zimą , a następnie potwornie zniszczony. To jest okropne, jak tak można zabijać drzewa. Pozdrawiam.

    You showed great contrasts: beautiful forest in winter, and then horribly destroyed. This is terrible, so you can kill the tree. Yours.

  23. I usually like the "after" pictures in the before and after sequences I see but not in this case. Such blunt, inelegant destruction for the sake of money is sickening.

  24. My Gosh! It's so depressing. I can't believe that such beautiful forest got cut down to such barren areas :-(. I can't even remove the weeds from my property, let alone cut any tree. And, some people are cutting trees like that. I am sorry to say but I consider them some of the greatest criminals and murderers..............

  25. Tatyana, You have my heartfelt sympathy on the loss of this beautiful forest. In my neighborhood, people sometimes have trees cut as a way of getting some money for a special project (Maine is a pretty poor state, and trees are our most plentiful natural resource), but they usually cut selectively and in small areas -- seldom this kind of clear-cutting. I'm very grateful that I own the woods behind my house, because I would be sick if I heard the sound of a chain saw someday and then they were gone. Those trees so enrich my life. May 2012 be filled with new growth and other forests to love. -Jean

  26. those before and after photos are heartbreaking - here we try to protect old growth forests by lobbying governments but it is hard slogging and sometimes feels like a losing battle.

  27. Tatyana, so sorry for us all about the loss of your beautiful forest. So much wildlife displaced let alone trees destroyed. It's so ugly to look at in comparison to how it was too. Makes me think of Avatar.

    One of my neighbors cut a 50 year old cottonwood this past summer all because they wanted a circular driveway. That tree provided so much shade & shelter for birds it was a tragedy. I was horrified when I saw the tree people there that day & still get sad when I walk by and it's not there. Amazing how many people are not more respectful of how connected we are (whether they think so or not) to our planet. Unfortunately, owning property gives legal rights to do many destructive things even tho we should all be protecting our earth for the long term.

  28. We built our home on property that was logged years before we were even old enough to even think about marriage, let alone think about building a home on acreage. I see signs of loggers still on our property and we have lived here 20 years. All around us the forests have come down and when I hear the sound of chain-saws and see the death of the ancient trees I am sad. Sad and conflicted, and thankful for my home...yet hoping no more forests are leveled .

  29. This is so sad! Your joy walking in that beautiful forest is so apparent. I would enjoy it as well. I am so sorry you lost such a lovely and natural place to enjoy. I don't know how they sleep either...sad, so sad.

  30. Very sad. I am sad for that man, as well, for whom financial gain was so important. I can see selling a couple trees if you need some money, but clear-cutting a forest for quick profit? That must be so heart-wrenching to see.

  31. The first picture of the devastation made me shriek involuntarily--how awful. I literally mourn for old trees that are taken down unnecessarily here. I see a hole years later where others notice nothing I am so sorry.

  32. Dear Tatyana, We own about 15 acres of woodland and logged once to raise money ... selectively removing a few trees in one area. After the loggers left, my husband and I were devastated. We vowed not to do that again. Your experience, so beautifully photographed, was much worse. I am so sorry for your loss. P. x

  33. Thank you everyone! I am very touched with such overwhelming response to these pictures.
    I try not to pass that place anymore. It hurts to see it. I am pretty strong, but I cry every time I see it.

  34. That is just sad! Great post.

  35. I am confused. As close as these trees are to each other, were they not planted for lumber?
    No natural woods grows like this. Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Trees do grow this dense naturally.
      This area is not a primary logging area, nobody planted these trees.

  36. AnonymousJuly 09, 2012

    Oh man this is such a sad story. I live in the UK and have been seeing similar goings on here and every time the only thing I ask myself is why? Why do they keep doing it when they're always on about climate change and looking after the earth. I hope more and more people share stories like this and people start to understand more the importance of conserving this type of resource.

    Thankyou for sharing.

  37. My forest has burned and for an entire YEAR we've had logging trucks _several times a day_ hauling logs out on the forestry road above my house. What to do when a hundred thousand acres burn?


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