The Golden SprucePosted: September 2, 2012
I’ve just finished reading an extremely powerful, well written book called The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant. Among other things, it’s the story of logging in North America and the destruction of a rare golden spruce sacred to the Haida people of the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada. It’s also the story of the man who attacked the tree and the mystery as to his whereabouts.
When I write of humans and nature, the destructive side of our practices is always in my mind. John Vaillant speaks to this, but though his book is painful reading, it’s enlightening. I have previously been ignorant of the extremes of our destruction of trees and forests on our continent and others. Perhaps this has been a form of cushioning denial—in which I have refused to allow into my consciousness painful realities. I say this because I have been aware that our continent had vast forests before the arrival of Europeans. And yet, the scale and speed with which we have removed and continue to remove forests was something I never fully grasped until reading The Golden Spruce.
The denial and self-protection I have felt seems to me wide spread as we continue to live with the effects of the destruction of natural settings. The book, The Nature Principle, that I wrote about earlier was written with this backdrop in mind. I believe that Richard Louv, the author, wrote that book with a positive vision in order to turn people away from denial and despair. He calls us to face our essential need to live in nature for our healthy continuance.
Here’s a card from my card deck Mirrors of the Heart which shows an image of humans and nature in wholeness.