Friday, September 18, 2009

A Hundred Years in Sun and Shadow

I put up the poem in my last post because of a sickening CRACK and sickening sight I experienced when I arrived on campus earlier this week. The sickening crack was of a giant piece of machinery coming down over the top of a tree that must have stood 100 years or more, that was torn, literally, limb from limb in 5 or fewer sweeps of the machine. As I witnessed this it really struck me that trees have no way to defend themselves or escape. I realize this is for a "good cause," our new science building which will house the Great Valley Museum, a planeterium, an observatory, and all our science classes among other things. But I really thought they would have saved these trees and incorporated them somehow, especially since this is a building dedicated to science, including life science, so this was quite a shocking sight to me.Here is the machine that tore a hundred+ year old tree down earlier this week. The claw just came down from on top and ripped into it.Above are similar but smaller trees in the same area. Below is the carnage.It was truly sickening to watch. Were this Berkeley and were I not tenure-track (i.e. not yet tenured), I probably would have stood in front of the tree to protect it! Phrases from Nemerov's poem (below) came to mind as I witnessed this horror:
"Maybe a hundred years in sun and shower dismantled in a morning . . . there it isn't on the ground . . . at dusk the darkening air . . . will be pierced by a bewilderment of birds."

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