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White Pine

I lived many years under a magnificent, seven decades old White Pine on the edge of Niagara Escarpment. It grew fast, planted in the rich soil next to my neighbour's house. I loved it as well as I feared it; what grows fast comes down even faster. One day of solid wind, countless of them went down in Dundas Valley and our village. My house was spared.

Can one develop a meaningful relationship with plant life?

White Pine Study #2
Grace Lake Island
White Pine Study #3

In the “wild,” shaped by the winds or rock formations, a pine grows slowly, with its core spine formed to take it all in. Tough as the bedrock, it has to grasp and hold on to, enduring whatever comes its way. The measure of time is quite different, and it's written into the cores of every being out there. A pine is a shelter one can put trust in.

Thunderstorm over Baie Fine, Killarney area in Ontario

So do I, and as a place for lunch, midday nap or mapping out connections and reasons for everything I see around.

I prefer to camp around one pine tree that might appear as a pine grove. Growing in harsh conditions, supported by a slim patch of mosses, Pinus strobus sidling can spread its brunches over the ground, bracing itself before they grow upwards. One tree can colonize the lake’s small island, creating a living environment for itself while hosting other plant species. The intertwining pine needles form a carpet bracing the bedrock, forming biomass as a foothold for other plants to follow. It could also defend its foothold quite vigorously.

Elevated to the status of an iconic tree in our culture by Canadian artists for many good reasons, our changing perception of the White Pine indicates shifts in the system of values in this culture. One of the ways to judge human intelligence is our ability to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. In my lifetime, I witnessed a dramatic shift in the balance between the individual and society's intelligence. That is, in my mind, what accelerates many previously unforeseen consequences.

Lake Temagami, Ontario

Laying down under a tree on Lake Temagami's shores, I recall raging battles over three decades ago. That was when the urban population vigorously joined the natives in this region to stop clear-cut logging of unspoiled forests. While politicians can easily blindfold us today with ineffective “future” programs of 2-bln tree planting disregarding natural processes, the pressure of an “interest” to cut it all is growing.

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