The tree crew came again today, and the piles of sawdust where the two giants had stood were smoothed over and leveled by bobcats. The man’s lot is now barren, aside from one smaller sugar maple in the front.
There was one worker from the crew left, finishing up, when I delivered the mail, a burly, bearded guy I had not seen before. I made a comment about the desert the owner now inhabited, and he said that it was a shame to have to cut down such magnificent trees (none of the tree crew I had talked to have expressed anything but regret for this act). He said that they had measured the stump before it was chipped into sawdust, and it was fifteen feet across. He confirmed my guess that the black oak, and the maple in the front, were over two hundred years old. That would mean that they were saplings in the days when white settlers first arrived in the Ohio wilderness.
I said that the owner had told me that he had cut the trees because the shade that they produced caused his home to mildew, but that if he needed new siding anyway, which was sure to outlast him, why cut the trees? The burly man said that in fact they now made mildew resistant siding, which makes the destruction even more senseless.
Like I said, the owner’s wife had died last year, so maybe the grief had unhinged him.
But objectively this was a heinous act, the destruction of ancient and beautiful living beings, for no good reason.
Lord have mercy.
The Price of War
Here are some numbers to consider:
Every year the United States spends $653,110,000,000 on the military.
That is $1,2000.000 a minute.
Something to think about the next time Republicans start in on cutting “entitlement” programs.
That term, “entitlement” has always angered me: I have paid into Social Security since I started working at 14 (actually 12, but it was under the table). Damned straight I am entitled to what was promised. Ditto for Medicaire.
But that the social safety net, meagre as it is, is seen as ripe for cuts, when we spend that kind of money on the military, maintaining an armed presence in some 150 countries?
I took up my brush yesterday, for the first time in about three months. It was my day off, and the birthday of my bride as well as of my three year old, Will. It was a busy day, until a lull in late afternoon. With nothing pressing, it occurred to me that this would be a good time to paint.
But I was not in the mood for it; I did not feel inspired or particularly spiritual. But I got set up and began.
The icon I am working on, the Mother of God of Tenderness, is one I began a long time ago, and it is at the stage of highlighting, the point in the iconographic process when one is working from dark to light, ever brightening the image, when every act is dramatic; and as I began to work I calmed and centered, and felt a sense of peace that has eluded me lately.
I made good progress, and was satisfied, more or less, with the work I had done; three months of not painting had not made me lose my touch. I am a step or two away from beginning the faces.
I really must try to find time for praying with paint more regularly….