Environmental Writing and Great Lakes LiteratureHe shifted focus from that single virgin pine to the collective group that sat at the foot of the river nearest the shore. The crown exhibited the beauty of randomness. Thousands of clusters of needles emerged from small branches. Scores of these branches attached to dozens of the larger sort, which ultimately attached to its trunk. Symmetrical in girth but with a few blemishes, it penetrated the thick ground below. Needles, visibly prickly and stiff, pointed to the ground and to the sun, but none directly to the east or west. Patternless arrangements of bark cover it from top to bottom. Like streets, cracks in the bark provide ants a thoroughfare of commerce. The branches stopped midway up the trunk, delineating where fires had scorched it. In his moment staring at the single tree, and the hundred similar ones around it, John felt differently. He quickly switched he gaze to the stacked timber on the river. No longer were these trees the product of a strong day’s work. John, feeling the pulse in his rough, hardened hands, remembered the physical pain this job caused him. The voice of the forest was too strong to resist, but there remained a sliver of doubt about his plan. Then, he remembered his nightly walks from the river to camp; he remembered the shine of the moon the night before
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