Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cold Plantin' Trees

On to Thursday:
As December is a low time for volunteers, there were a total of four of us that came out on Thursday morning for the group reforestation project. I got up early that morning in order to get back from the milk run before 8. As it was, I arrived at 8:01 and saw that evan and jess (who you already know well) along with Toni, the aging Spanish nursery manager, were already down in nursery, loading baby trees into crates to be carried to the field for planting. I cursed their wretched punctuality, that made me late with out actually being late and rushed down to join them, leaving the milk boiling for those who had the luxury of time.
The task of the day was to carry all of the trees down the path, over the foot bridge (a log over the river) and up a hill to the place where they were to be planted. As I was "late" evan and toni had already gone with the first crate of trees. I met jess in the nursery and we lifted our first crate. It was heavy. really heavy. "haha.. really? how the fuck are we supposed to get this all the way up there"? I asked. she didn't know, so we tried anyway and actually managed, though painfully. After the first one we switched partners so I was to carry with Toni and Jess was to carry with Evan. This we did. Over and over.
At one point, when we were reloading in the nursery I glanced up to a table full of plants and asked Toni if we were going to bring all of those trees to the field, more out of conversation than anything. He responded, speaking Portuguese in his thick Spanish accent: don't think of it like that, because then if we don't get to all of them we will feel like we left the job incomplete. Just think of these 10 trees in the crate, and the importance of them. All of the food they will generate, the nutrients they will bring to the earth and the home they will create for the birds. These ten trees are all that matter right now.
It dawned on me the scope of the job we were trying to do, and that as much as it would have given consolation to my aching mussels, rebuilding the rain forest by hand wasn't something you could check off the to-do list before lunch. In fact, it was something that could never be checked off, as hard or as long as we worked. And that if everyone thought the way I thought, in terms of short term satisfaction, nothing would ever get done. Because the jobs that are really important don't have a man-made finish lines.
Still, as the hours went by, I couldn't help but relate the diminishing amount of trees on the table to the about of time I would have to spend lugging heavy crates uphill and wondering why my sense of accomplishment was irrevocably related to a end rather than a process.

But.... I wish my little trees health and prosperity, put in a good word for them, yes?


robert said...

so good!

harrison grrgeron said...


GrrlMonstrr said...

tree hugger

Werd said...

Yea honestly, you fucking hippie.

"In fact, it was something that could never be checked off, as hard or as long as we worked"

That's what she said.