stop the violence

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January 2, 2001

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I have seen the beginning of the end. It was a discarded Christmas tree in a Fremont alley, right next to John Berry's old studio, the Garden of Everyday Miracles and Circus Contraption practice space replaced by new condos. I'd wanted to root through Dusty Strings dumpster (source of good wood scraps leftover from the making of instruments), and Sarah had to pee (although I didn't know it till she crouched by the trash). The tree was full and fresh, pine needle redolent. I stood it up and asked, "What can we do with it?" It seemed to want to follow us home, an unwanted puppy with nothing but love and no place to put it. But it had already been cut. There was no hope for it. Sarah started to cry when we left it.
something fucked up happened to this picture but i don't knnow what and it wasn't intentional but there you have it--further evidence that it's all begun to unravel
Back home, I said, "Maybe it's the linchpin, the straw that broke the camel's back. Global environment calamity come down to that one tree & someone had to cut it so they could hang shiny shredded plastic from its branches for 2 weeks." I wasn't exactly trying to be funny but I didn't suspect I was being so serious. Sarah said, "That's what they say--change isn't predictable, doesn't follow a curve. Any single factor can tip the balance. And once it does, there's no going back."

So there you have it. If you get the sense that it's all begun to unravel, don't be surprised when National Geographic traces it back to a senselessly slaughtered tree abandoned in an alley at the Center of the Universe, Fremont, Seattle.

And if by some chance I happen to be mistaken, consider starting a new Christmas tradition: instead of murdering a tree for a fortnight's decoration, take a sapling home from the nursery. Nurture it and watch it grow until the proper season and then plant it where it's needed. Tie it to Easter as a symbol of the Resurrection if you really are a Christian, but no matter what your faith or reason let this be the year you become a soldier for conservation.