Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Black Walnut Tree - February 21, 2010

My mother and I debate:

we could sell

the black walnut tree

to the lumberman,

and pay off the mortgage...

...That night I dream

of my father's out of Bohemia

filling the blue fields

of tress and generous Ohio...

What my mother and I both know

is that we'd crawl with shame

in the emptiness we'd made

in our own and our father's backyard.

So the black walnut tree

swings through another year...

...and, month after month, the whip-

crack of the mortgage.

The America Black Walnut is a native tree and is being hunted out of its range. Looking through the internet I see that a 200 year old tree could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Those people out of Europe in many ways did empty out Ohio of its native species, bringing with them their cultivated plants and trees. The Walnut is both native, and a tree of cultivation. So when Mary speaks of shame about taking the tree down, is it the shame that her lineage, her species took from Ohio? Or is it shame from not honoring the toils of her forebears? Both? Oh how our species delights in work and cultivating products. We yearn for abundance while killing it.

When you look in your backyard, what do you see? What trees, plants, and wildlife come from other lands, supplanting the native species? (In Florida, about 25% of plant and animal wildlife is non native).

1 comment:

  1. I'd say 25% is about right. Some plants like the azaleas might be native to this area, but I am sure the ones I have have been genetically engineered. I haven't found any non-native wildlife yet. Though I recall reading somewhere that the roach was brought from a different continent. Of course fire ants have migrated from other states.
    My trees in my woods are native. Even the dogwood I planted isn't really native because I'm sure that it has been genetically selected. My dogwood will never be like the native ones I've seen in the woods in Michigan and North Carolina. But it can be a reminder.