Tree huggers

I believe the term Tree Hugger is used in the pejorative by many of our neighbors. Pairodox is situated in rural Pennsylvania, William Penn’s Woods. The Pennsylvania timber industry operates here and in all (67) counties, producing more than five billion dollars in forest products each year. This is tree country and trees are big business. That being said, those of us who prefer live trees to dead ones are more often than not labeled Tree Huggers. We are teased for believing that living trees have value which exceeds whatever price may be had for them expressed as pieces of dimension lumber. As I drove for morning coffee I listened to a piece which aired as part of a radio program, The Allegheny Front. The story told of a dance troupe from Pittsburgh that was preparing a performance, the focus of which was conservation. The show is entitled Prakriti-Maatrikaa, Mrittikaa, which translates as An Ode to the Mother Goddess and Nature. In part, the performance tells of the Bishnoi (followers of vaishnavism, a branch of hinduism which grants reverence to Vishnu) who protect trees and wildlife as part of their sacred, religious, tradition. It also tells of the Chipko Movement born in the foothills of the high Himalayas. As the primary gatherers of food, fuel, and water, Bishnoi women have always had strong motivation to protect their natural surroundings. As a result of government policies which sought to harvest and sell timber for foreign exchange, the Bishnoi forests were being cut down, ecosystems were becoming increasingly desertified and destabilized, and water quality was suffering. It was in the light of these dire circumstances that groups of courageous women joined hands, literally (Chipko means to clasp), to encircle trees which were being threatened by loggers from the outside. And therein may be found the source, and significance, of the term. I am proud to be a Tree Hugger … and so is Joanna (the image shows her getting close to a Giant Redwood along the Tall Trees Trail, part of the Red Wood National Park in California). I hope that somehow those brave and brilliant woman shown in the first image know that the tradition of Tree Hugging continues in our expressions of respect for and in efforts to preserve those denizens of deep-time … trees.

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