Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Book Shelf

One of the best books that I have found regarding forests, forestry, and logging is The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant.

Most books on the subject of forests come down heavily on the side of ecology or the logging companies. This book tells the whole story of a northwest forest from the first tree's appearance before the pyramids of Egypt appeared on the earth, to the appearance of the first men, the first white men, the first loggers, the first chainsaw, and the first man who was brave enough to sacrifice a sacred tree on behalf of a sacred disappearing forest.

The Golden Spruce does not take sides, leaving the reader to struggle with the issues of vanishing resources vs people just struggling to make a living vs pure naked greed. It is not an easy decision to make even with all the facts outlined.

The book centers around one tree; a spruce with defects that give it a golden hue. We listen and watch as this tree becomes part of a surrounding forest and lives for thousands of years standing sentinel over the tragic happenings that men bring to the forest. Until finally, in the end the tree stands alone with only a sample of the vast majestic forest that once was home; saved from destruction by some defective genes.

Then comes a man; a master logger who one day looks around him and sees the forest for the tree. He alone knows the destruction that has occurred to the forest in the 20th century; how much has disappeared never to reappear in thousands of years. And it drives him crazy to see that the people honor the golden spruce in lieu of the whole forest.   

This book will open your eyes and force you to look at your back deck (or front deck) (or both) with new eyes. This book allows us to glimpse the true cost of those decks we love so well.

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