Sunday, December 26, 2010

THE ENDANGERED ORNAMENTS

Elaine and I had left Seattle and had spent a day driving down the beautiful Oregon coast.  The day of driving had started with a look back at Washington from a high hill on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.  From that hill we could spot Mount St. Helen's and the rest of that string of peaks that shoot up in western Washington state.

The drive down the Oregon coast had take about twice as long as an ordinary drive of that length would take.  We found ourselves stopping at almost every scenic viewpoint to look out over the Pacific from some of the most marvelous coastline I had ever seen.  The Oregon coast will silence the most critical of people with it's beauty.  Finally at dusk we had arrived at our destination of Crescent City, California.  It was a tiny town just over the state line from Oregon.

As far as we could tell the town had a Denny's, a Motel 8, and various other little shops.  We went over to the Denny's to get some breakfast then back to our room to get some much needed rest before tomorrow's scheduled trip to San Fransisco.  On the television in the room they were showing footage of the Crescent City Fourth of July Parade.  It seemed it was the only thing we could get on the set.  There were pick up trucks with signs bearing the sponsors name on the side.  "HAL'S HARDWARE", "JOE AND LOUISE'S  CAFE" and numerous other local advertisements in cars or trucks that transported various important individuals that resided in the small town. I am sure we saw the mayor and most of the city aldermen that night before we drifted off to sleep.

The next morning found the weather to be quite eerie.  There was a thick fog hanging over the town and the moisture in the air dampened everything that was out in it.  We loaded up the car and began an early morning trek into the famed Redwood Forest.  The fog was so thick we contemplated whether to go ahead or wait it out.  Thanks to me we went ahead and headed out into the cloud and into the forest.

The redwood forest was silent that early in the morning.  It seemed like Elaine and I were the only two there.  We saw no one else as we crept through the curves of the road that took you around the giant trees.  We stopped and walked off into the woods along a path to see one of the oldest trees in the forest.  The tree's diameter was tremendous and we took each others picture in front of it.

As the morning went along the traffic on the road began to pick up.  Among the traffic we started seeing were logging trucks.  Elaine watched the trucks pass us or looked at them as we passed them.  These trucks were carrying redwood trees.  some of the trees were so large only one was loaded in a truck.  At most we saw four redwoods on one logging truck.  Elaine must have watched each one of the go past her window.  her thoughts must have been growing every time she saw one of these trucks hauling what now had grown to precious redwoods in her mind.

She then began vocalizing her concerns to me.  These redwoods were so special, how could they log them, it made no sense to her.  The Redwood Forest had become a haven for an endangered species of tree.  They should not be allowed to harvest these great giants of the American west.  They should be protected.  I reminded her that lots of things are made from redwood, that it is a useful commodity but she would have none of it.  How profitable could it be when they can only it one tree on a truck at a time?  It made no sense to her what so ever and I swore she was ready to start a Save the Redwoods organization before we left California.

I have to admit it was a wonderful drive through that forest.  We stopped and drove our rental car through the middle of one of the trees.  Each time we would stop and look at these giants, you couldn't help but to be awed and overwhelmed but not only the size, but the beauty of it all.

We finally stopped at a little souvenir house as we neared the end of the forest.  As I was looking through t shirts and things of that sort to bring home as a souvenir to my wife and sun , something else caught Ealeine's eye.

Elaine saw the most beautiful Christmas ornaments and I don't use sarcasm when saying that.  They were beautiful.  Each Christmas ornament depicted a scene of Christmas on it.  They were handmade so each one was a little different.  Elaine excitedly showed them to me.  She was going to get ornaments for mom and dad, among other relatives.  She was totally in love with these ornament.

When I pointed out the fact that these wonderful ornaments were hand carved form her precious redwood trees that she had preached protection for during the last five hours or so, she just shot me a cold glance.

Maybe so, maybe they were made from redwood trees.  It didn't change her mind.  She still felt the harvesting of redwoods should be slowed down if not stopped completely.  She still believed in the cause.  It was too late for the tree that spawned these ornaments however.  The tree was gone, already harvested and cut up and eventually carved into Christmas decorations.  There was no sense in letting this tree just go to waste by not purchasing these ornaments that came from the murdered redwood.  At the least it would give the redwood in question a meaning to its life.

And so in honor of the tree that was no more, in order to keep the said tree's legacy alive, as a way to make the tree's death not be in vain, Elaine purchased a lot of ornaments from that tree that day.

It was her own way of protesting the harvest of the Giant Redwoods, and I couldn't and still can't find a suitable argument against that logic.

1 comment:

  1. I SO loved that trip as well as your writing. Thanks again for reminding me of a moment during that time. And don't EVER think you can argue with Elaine's logic! Love you.

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