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Sunday, April 2, 2017

300 rings

My daughter and I went to a local lumberyard to buy some fence posts for an animal enclosure in our backyard. True to Nicaraguan norms, you go right to the source. Want to buy sausage? Go to the butcher. Want to buy milk? Go to the farm. You get the picture. Just as watching a butcher make sausage might repel you from ever wanting to eat sausage again. So too, visiting a sawmill might impact your willingness to ever buy wood again.
   Seeing once majestic trees, laying around like rubbish, waiting to be cut, and chopped wasn't a pleasant sight. Don't get me wrong, the lumberjacks, and millwrights have hungry families, and need the work, I get it. In fact, I, like most people, are for sustainable harvesting of trees. Meaning, cull the sick trees, replant with new seedlings, leave watershed areas alone and harvest the quicker growing trees first. The problem here is, a tree, is a tree, is a tree, and there aren't enough reforestation programs for most of these areas to keep up. Each cut tree, not replaced with many seedlings, means drier soils, more erosion and so on. The wounds within the forest are like a cancer, slowly and surely taking over their host. Sadly, it is not just in Nicaragua that this occurs but all over the world. We need to help educate developing communities on forestry management, so that in the future, lumberjacks and forests can both coexist.
   So what does all of this mean for a girl who painstakingly counts the growth rings on a log? One can only imagine what went through my daughter's mind when she finally finished counting, looked up and frantically exclaimed, "DADDY, 300 RINGS! Do you know how old this tree is?" Seeing her awash with sadness was palpable enough but when she said, "I can almost hear the birds and the leaves in the wind." She sadly added, "But I know it's not true." I knew she was crushed, and I wished there was something I could have done for her. Sometimes, though, even a daddy's love cannot wash away harsh realities.      


Majestic trees reduced to a pile of logs.

The reality that these trees came from the forest started to sink in.

The mill stays busy to supply an ever growing need for wood.

Our horse drawn cart getting loaded up with posts that we bought.

Logs in, lumber products out.

Sierra just squatted and started counting.

She decided on her own to count the growth rings.

Making wood products with an old school mill

The poverty on the other side of the mill is heartbreaking  

Prepping a log for the mill.

Sierra closely examined the logs.

Logs waiting to be milled.

Sometimes the sadness one feels is hard to hide. 

1 comment:

  1. :-( You know me -- often, I love trees more than people. And this weekend, we had storms that took down a major section of a beautiful oak in Arnold and Melanie's back yard. Lots of tree damage around town. Love y'all!

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