Losing Loblolly Pines-Part II: In the Context of a Pandemic

Tammy Brown

I was about to post a blog about losing pine trees in March, and suddenly people were dying from Covid-19. Losing trees suddenly seemed less important, so I didn’t share it then. Now, the discussion of the value of human life in the context of saving the economy, conserving medical resources, taking exposure risks vs. quality of life is very much on our minds and in our conversations. Somehow we have to consider it all important and make the best decisions we can for ourselves and for the good of others. We also have to consider the link between nature and man and how we might pay for our unbridled abuse of the natural world with our individual deaths or the extinction of the human race.

I don’t have the answers–far from it– but I can share some of my process through a painting and a poem about life and death and trees.

A Painting

This large painting that says something about life and death and about nature’s resilience. Death is front and center in the news and in our minds. We struggle with how to accept and integrate death’s bold presence while appreciating the simple gift of living more than ever.

Untitled Painting by Tammy Brown, 2020

A Poem

Dying Pines by Tammy Brown

Trees so old my arms reach only half way around the trunk
Dying pines
Weakened by drought
Finished by insects

Red-brown needles
Rivulets of amber sap 
The crack of dropping branches

The roots say to the roots of the next tree
Look out

The Sapsucker drills a perfect grid around and down the trunk 

The Woodpecker hammers out a nest
Half disappearing into the cavity 
Saw dust flying

The Hawk perches on the broken apex scanning the fields for mice and rabbits 
In the morning, in the same spot, the Vulture turns slowly slowly around and around damp wings spread wide in the sun

Finally, bare of bark, yellow skin scarred and exposed
The tree stands naked and armless
In a field of green grass and wildflowers
In a circle of pine seedlings


Comments welcome!

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