Seeing my favorite forest cut down was a bit of a shock and surely a depressing experience. When and how it will grow back depends on many factors. What's certain is that the forest as I knew it is gone forever and countless creatures have lost their home ...
Hi everyone! How are you doing?!
Here I am with another story from the forest hills! Actually, I have written this post in my mind many times, but somehow I have not been able to put it down and couldn't decide to publish it for a while.
On the one hand, I thought it was too sad a story and I didn't want to bother you, one the other hand I knew that the experience I had lived was of value to everybody and it was worth telling about it even if it would likely cause some sad feelings. This at least is what happened to me while living it.
It was a Saturday early morning when I headed out with my camera to one of my favorite forests, which also happens to be the closest to my home.
It was supposed to be snowing a lot that day and I wanted to take some dreamy pictures of the snowy woods and enjoy the magical atmosphere.
However, when I reached the main forest path, the one I would usually deviate from to take another smaller path leading deep into the woods, what I found to my dismay were piles and piles of tree logs covering both sides of the road for as far as my eyes could see ...
At the beginning I was just confused, I thought I had gone too far on the road and missed the little entrance to the forest, so I kept on going back and forth to find my way in, my heart pounding. Of course, deep inside, I knew already what had happened, but it was only when I reached the end of the road that I fully, painfully acknowledge what my eyes were seeing.
My forest was gone, at least a very large part of it ... It had been cut down extensively.
It hurt so much that it's really difficult to put it into words.
The narrow dreamy path among green rows of tall trees on which I walked countless times had disappeared. That beautiful trail, covered with red needles and little forest rocks, used to lead the way through the thick forest eventually descending to an enchanting little lake.
What was left instead, were the large tracks of the monstrous harvesters going in all directions. They were covered with piles of dead branches, trunks and torn blue berry bushes.
The trees still standing looked so lonely and fragile, lacking the support of the ones that were used to grow next to them. Some young trees were left alone on the sides of the trails.
Huge gaps opened up in a forest that just the day before was so thick that you could barely see through the trees. Now I could see the horizon, the houses once hidden behind the vegetation and the other side of the hill.
I wasn't really able to take more pictures than the ones below. There was little left to be photographed anyway ...
I was shocked and extremely confused. Was I on the same path leading to the lake? How could I not recognize the forest that I had been visiting almost every day and that I thought I knew inside and out?
I tried to orient myself and find my way to the lake but after a while I was walking I managed to get totally lost. All my landmarks were gone ... The felling operations had eventually changed the geography of the place. Walking among the big piles of left overs covered in snow was tricky and tiring, I was extremely demoralized and so exhausted ...
Eventually, I gave up. I stopped by one of those piles in the snowy desert of dead trees. I knew that I would never find my way in that state of mind. I had to sit down and let it go. Couldn't hold back the tears anymore.
The forest as I knew it was gone forever.
I stood there looking around for a long while, recalling how it was before, all the little places I got to know in the years that I had walked through that forest, its beautiful hidden spots, the ones where I could see the sun rising and setting, the ones with the giant dancing ferns, the ones covered in berry bushes. The place where the deer were feeding ...
That forest was my happy place, the one I reached every time I was feeling down, every time I was happy, when I was tired and needed some rest, when my mind was too busy and needed to reset, when it was spring and it was magic, when it was summer and I could find shelter from the heat, when it was autumn and it was cozy, when it was winter and it felt like Christmas. I have walked through it almost everyday and nonetheless I would always find some new beautiful part of it.
It was a whole precious world that had disappeared from one day to the next.
It was home to countless creatures that lost it that day. Deer, squirrels, foxes, moose, birds, insects and other innumerable species that I don't even know about.
The ones that were not killed in the felling process had likely already left, gone somewhere else, in search of a new home, leaving the forest deserted. The ones that had remained were surely struggling to find food and some shelter.
That's when I really reached the bottom of my despair ... when I tried to imagine how the animals felt during and after the cutting. When they discovered that their home were destroyed.
I felt so powerless and useless . There was nothing I could do to help those creatures.
When I stood up to return home I realized that I had wandered more than I thought and I was no longer able to find my way back. When I eventually made it, it was almost dark.
That's the last image I have of my forest, the part that was less affected by the cutting.
When and how the forest will grow back depends on many factors, starting from the felling strategy adopted by the logging company. But this is another story ....
The purpose of this post isn't to talk about good or bad forestry, it is not a rant against the logging companies, or the government policies in terms of forest management. It is a complicated issue, and it requires a lot of knowledge to be able to seriously talk about it.
I rather wanted to try and describe how it feels when a natural place that you care about, that you are so familiar with and that you thought would be there for ever is destroyed. Because hearing about deforestation and forest loss is surely sad, but seeing with your own eyes a forest disappear has definitely a more devastating impact on you.
It's about witnessing death and destruction. It's about loss and feeling powerless.
And it's about connection with the natural environment around you.
Because it was my connection with that forest that caused so much pain when I saw it cut down, it was that connection that taught me the importance of taking care of it.
And perhaps, it is precisely the loss of that connection that has led us to the critical environmental and climatic situation of today.
It's just a more intimate perspective on a gigantic issue. I hope it makes sense to you. I hope I managed to reach you and make you see and feel what would it mean to wake up and realize that the planet as you know it is gone ...
Anyway ... Enough with the sad thoughts.
I will process the pain, leak my wounds and keep on going. The only thing I can do is to never stop standing with all the people fighting to protect our planet and never lose hope!
I will return to the forest and take care of what's left. I will do my best to contribute to its restoration.
In fact, it is with a picture of hope that I want to leave you.
I took it a few days ago by another beautiful lake. It was an amazing morning and the air tasted of spring ... The season of renewal ...
Till next time .... take good care of you.
Love, Simona 🤍🌲🤍