“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can still do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.”
One nice day in March, I decided to walk into our woods and liberate some girdled trees from vines. I think I did 10 or so trees before I got so depressed, I quit.
The trees look so awful. I’ve written about dead and dying trees in Michigan and Kentucky. My sense when we moved here is that the trees looked better here than there.
We live in an oak and hickory forest, or what used to be a forest. There are dogwoods, redbuds and red cedars too. People have planted white pines, the dreaded Bradford pear, maples and other trees.
The arborist who came out said it was the worst infestation of bark beetle he’d ever seen. He’s not wrong, we definitely have bark beetles, but trees all over the state look like this; hell, trees all over look like this.
I try, now, to look at our trees and not see them. Sometimes that works. Most of the time, it doesn’t.
I will plant anyway. Trees, shrubs, vines, any native plant at all. If they help birds or bees or butterflies or amphibians or any species besides humans, I will plant it. Though the future is writ, we cannot know the particulars.
It is what I can do.