Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TNR Report

It is not only in the modern imagination that forests cast their shadow of primeval antiquity; from the beginning they appeared to our ancestors as archaic, as antecedent to the human world. We gather from mythology that their vast and somber wilderness was there before, like a precondition or matrix of civilization, or that . . . the forests were first. Such myths, which everywhere look back to a forested earth, no doubt recall the prehistoric landscape of the West, yet this by itself does not explain why human societies, once they emerged from the gloom of origins, preserved such fabulous recollections of the forests' antecedence. Why, for example, should the founding legends of ancient cities declare that Rome had a sylvan origin? . . . Human beings have by no means exploited the forest only materially; they have also plundered its trees in order to forge their fundamental etymologies, symbols, analogies, structures of thought, emblems of identity, concepts of continuity, and notions of system. From the family tree to the tree of knowledge, from the tree of life to the tree of memory, forests have provided an indispensible resource of symbolization in the cultural evolution of humankind, so much so that the rise of modern scientific thinking remains quite unthinkable apart from the prehistory of such metaphorical borrowings. Even the concept of the circle, we are told, comes from the internal concentric rings laid bare by the felling of trees. --Robert Pogue Harrison, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization
That is why the FGBC pays a visit to the forest every now and then. It reminds us who we are. Yesterday provided an opportunity for one of those visits. It was profound. And therapeutic. Now we can go on.

1 comment:

PaddyH said...