Remembering the Fallen (No, sorry, not that – title needs work, but . . .)

We wrap our vacation up today and head back to the great state of Kentucky (where we will revel in all of the humidity we’ve come to love about Florida with none of that healing, magical salted air from the stunning ocean to distract us).

I like to think that we always do what we can to minimize our negative impact on the planet, particularly when we travel, but a quick inventory of what we have consumed this week is appalling. Our paper use, for instance, is horrifying. We have bought and consumed so many paper products that I feel as if we need to purchase carbon credits.  (Does anyone know where a family can do that? Amazon? Bass Pro?)

In light of the heartbreaking amount of natural resources we have consumed this week, I leave the coast with one final, overlong and overblown tribute in honor of what this trip has cost the planet, and to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so they we can consume indiscriminately:

It is early January in the far north. In the deep woods, just above a near-frozen river basin, there toil a couple of lumberjacks; 

Their names are Sven and Carl.

It is cold, the snow falling, and with the aid of a huge rusty saw they cut through a large, ancient tree, their sweat freezing in their full lumberjack beards. 
The tree they are sawing is the circumference of a dozen robust men, maybe more. It has stood for decades, perhaps centuries, and has beheld wonders too many to name and too sad to comprehend.

On the trunk of this massive tree is written, in orange spray paint, a word. Closer inspection reveals what is already suspected; the word is my last name.

The men continue to toil. They saw and they saw, singing the ancient songs of the lumberjack, working for days in the blistering cold to cut down and deliver the tree which will eventually provide paper products for our vacation. They bicker, they sing to maintain their sanity, they daydream with great longing of the families they have left behind.

Eventually, the massive tree falls, splitting the chilly air with a series of thunderous cracks and a final massive thud.

The two men wrap this majestic tree in chains, and a team of 100 mules pulls it down the hill toward the icy river below, where Sven and Carl will ride it (running for days in place while the log spins, as seen on those insane competitions on ESPN which air only at 2 am, all the while using cane poles for balance and propulsion) hundreds of miles downriver to the pulp and paper plants which will turn this giant marvel of nature into paper towels and fast food bags and toilet paper and food cartons and playing cards and paper umbrellas and crossword puzzles books and Minion Movie DVD boxes and countless ice cream receipts.

I think daily of Sven and Carl, and can only pray that no one along the line was injured in the process.  I hope {hangs head}. . . I hope they know how much we appreciate their work, their craftsmanship, their sacrifice.

(And, all of this does not even pay consideration to the large ozone hole which is ripped open every year directly over the factory which prepares the tons of plastic we will consume.  I literally don’t know what else to say, except I’m sorry.)


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