Sunday, July 18, 2010

Confessions of a Fallen Tree-Hugger

I've always considered myself a sort of tree-hugger. Not one of the hyper-fanatic, ultra-liberal tree-huggers that get the label these days; just someone who believes that other lifeforms besides humans deserve respect. I try not to kill and destroy anything unnecessarily. If I can find a different way of doing something, or an alternative plan that preserves life and harmony with nature, then I will.

But after a year of being tripped, beaten, whipped, cut, stabbed, pummeled and thrown to the ground by brush and scrub... well, I've gotten a little callous. Justifiably so, I think. Seriously, being assaulted by the forest on a daily basis can make any sane person get a hankering for a little pay back. I must admit to feeling a certain amount of vengeful glee when I run the 10" carbide blade of my new brushcutter through a gnarled clump of creeping willow because that little bastard has tripped me for the last time! I feel an urge to giggle maniacally when I'm feeding a mass of alder saplings through the chipper because those little bastards have whipped and torn my face for the last time!

I still repect Nature, and I still try not to kill anything unless it's necessary... but sometimes you just have to fight back and protect yourself. Should I feel bad about my new killing lust? Does it mean that I'm an evil person? Nah.... Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. I figure as long as I'm not killing everything all around me indiscriminately and still trying to pick my path so that I can preserve and conserve as much as possible, Nature will forgive my occasional murderous rampage.


geneva in missouri said...


I know the feeling. I have just under 4 acres here in MO. Most of it is yard that I have to mow. As soon as the 'pretty trees, shrubs and bushes' knock the ball cap off my head as I mow around it, IT'S GOING DOWN!!

Out come the loppers and hedge trimmers and Mwahahahahaha - knock my hat off, will you? Yank the headphones and Ipod off my head, huh? Well, take that and that and that! So there!!!!

Always feel better!!!


Anonymous said...

In his book "Cryptonomicon" Neal Stephenson's protagonist Randy Waterhouse undergoes a similar conversion after he has to undertake a bushwhacking road trip into the Phillipine jungle. By the time he summarizes the experience in a memo to some of his colleagues (as he lifts off on an airliner out of Manila airport and looks out the window on the green of the jungle outside the city), he realizes he empathizes w/the locals who live in the bush and spend their lives hacking/burning/clearing the same in a boots-on-the-ground, never-ending struggle w/nature, trying to wrest a home/living out of the wilds.

And having recently spent some time at my buddy's homestead, clearing space through some fairly dense woodland in order to put in fencing for a goat pasture, I've been thinking about that passage from "Cryptonomicon".

So I guess we're all in good company. [smile]

All the best, ya'll!

owen said...

Perhaps a growing realization that the natural world is not all Disney showed it to be. Maybe humanity is not an intrusion but truly the governor over nature. And as this realization grows you may come to understand the distinct separation between mankind and the rest of the natural world. Murder is a moral term. People murder people. You can not murder plants and animals. It is only killing or destroying.

Plickety Cat said...

Well, I don't subscribe to the opinion that humans are any more special or important than any other species. So, if you can apply a moral term to one species, you can apply it to all species. Or not apply to any.

If you subscribe to "all created equal" philosophy, then the intentional, premeditated wrongful death of any species by a human could accurately be considered "murder". However, since other species do not share our cerebral ability to conceive of morality (at least not that we're aware of), they cannot commit murder.

Humans are animals and part of the natural world. Unfortunately, we have a somewhat unique ability to gum up the works with our misguided sense of superiority and can conceive of things that act against nature, which is ultimately a self-destructive act against ourselves not just against the other species we share the planet with.