Beyond the bay window, night wanes.
God, behind the scenes, is producing this unused, never-before-seen, free-for-the-living day:
“Light, on your mark . . . good, very good . . . fade in sky and fields.”
(And to the mist) “Ready? Get rolling!”
For the first time in 25 years I clearly see Mt. Spokane from my place at our table. It rises, cool and distant, the stone-washed blue of rain over a lake.
Recently felled trees exposed this view, a vista I want to claim. Can a human own a view?
With the silent hoist of invisible pulleys, up comes the sun. I stroll up the driveway and witness washes of color altering landscape. I pass the fallen bodies of giants.
Our trees are dying. In a word: beetles.
We sought advice from experts. Here’s who weighed in.
- Spokane County Extension fire inspector
- District 4 Fire Department
- Department of National Resources
- Thinning contractors
Restoring our woods will cost an arm and a leg—actually, unnumbered limbs. Trunks, too. Many exceed the jaws of the chipper, and debris must be burned ASAP, or trucked away, to avoid worse infestation. Survivors need to be thinned and lopped of dead growth, 12′ from the ground.
Trunk girths indicate no one has tended these woods. Nor have we. We’ve loved them but left them wild. Until now.
But the hours. The expense. The labor. It’s overwhelming.
I see the mountain. See it from the place I study and pray. Modest in size, it’s still a mountain.
My view through the gap left behind by death makes me think of Good Friday. And visions. Kernels of wheat. Who but God would conceive such a process—downfall and disease ushering in unforeseen beauty. Surprise.
Yes, we are facing loss. And cost. And something more.
Have you read this famous haiku by Mizuta Masahide?
Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon
Looking back, looking ahead
We moved here after re-affirming our marriage vows. Things had been crashing down around us and friends sensed our need, prayed us through the pain. We know about doing hard things.
Now it’s time again to “own a better view.” At least, metaphorically. Ancient Israel lost her great forests to marauding enemies. Yet scripture also describes the trees rejoicing.
We will care for our little forest. We’ll watch for each view that opens up, even as trees go down.
Some scientists now believe bark beetles can hear the sound of imploding tissue in drought-stressed trees. Native people have likely always known this, as evidenced by this quote from a Pueblo Indian elder.
The beetles come when the trees begin to cry.
Who, or what, in your life cries out for tending? Is there a new way to view this?