Share story

I am still reveling in the sheer gorgeousness of Lynda Mapes’ April 16 arboreal love song [“Seeing the forest for the trees: What one oak tells us about climate change,” Pacific NW Magazine.] Her year of intimately observing one tree — of plucking “a slim wand of time” from its core; of capturing its wildlife tenants, not in cages but in vibrant vignette; of floating like an astronaut in its highest bows — achieves what scientists and pundits have failed to. It immortalizes a creature of nature (a chosen tree) the way great poets immortalize their beloved, inducing a dizzying ardor for life in the reader. Defenders of our environment must learn to seduce the reluctant, prude, denialist citizen who averts his or her eyes in shame. Rather than cowering, hoping that a sterile technological solution will save us from an impoverished future, let’s let Mapes’ agile, earthy, voluptuous language have its way with us. Arousal to the sensual delights of the forest may render more palatable the policies we must take to save it.
– Margaret Friedman, Seattle