EditorialMourning The Trees

Mourning The Trees


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Esther Ceniza-Windler

Sun, Oct 16, 2022

Today I mourn the century trees along the highway in the towns of Sibulan, all the way to San Jose and to Amlan and beyond, that have been cut down, or are waiting to be cut down.

The branches of these trees would wave at us each time we passed their shady canopy during all those years when they were faithful sentinels.

I mourn them as I have mourned the acacia trees in Dauin town, where vendors would sell bananas and other fruits under their generous shade. They gave the town of Dauin its character.

Now I arrive in these towns, and I do not even recognize them because they have become characterless. They have become just another highway town. The many vulnerable people even fear crossing the heart of their quaint small towns, now divided by four-lane highways.

I know I am not alone in grieving the trees. We have only not spoken passionately and loud enough.

I know for one that the town of Carcar in Cebu succeeded in saving their shady trees.

What will happen when the bulldozers arrive in Bais near the sugar central. Will they skirt around the great acacias to preserve them? Who will speak for them?

And because I cannot say it better, I quote here from the Center for Action & Contemplation Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation.

Grieving the trees

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullit-Jones expresses her grief through prayer: How else can we pray with our immense anger and grief? How else can we pray about ecocide, about the death that humanity is unleashing upon Mother Earth, and upon ourselves? How else can we break through our inertia and despair, so that we don’t shut down and go numb?…

I’ve taken to praying outdoors. I go outside, feel the good earth beneath my feet, and the wind on my face, and I sing to the trees…

Making up the words and music as I go along, I sing my grief to the trees that are going down, and my grief for so much more…for what we have lost and are losing, and for what we are likely to lose.

I sing my outrage about these beautiful old trees being cut to the roots, their bodies chipped to bits and hauled away to sell. I sing my fury about the predicament we’re in as a species. I sing my protest of the political and corporate powers-that-be that drive forward relentlessly with business-as-usual, razing the forests, drilling for more oil, digging for more coal, expanding pipelines construction, and opening up public lands and waters to endless exploitation, as if Earth were their private business, and they were conducting a liquidation sale.

I sing out my shame to the trees, my repentance and apology for the part I have played in the Earth’s destruction, and for the part my ancestors played when they stole land, and chopped down the original forests of the Native peoples who lived here.

I sing my praise for the beauty of trees, and my resolve not to let a day go by that I don’t celebrate the precious living world of which we are so blessedly a part.

I am not finished until I sing my determination to renew action for trees and for all of God’s Creation. (Love Every Leaf in Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis)


Author’s email: [email protected]

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