In an earlier post, which a friend says is his favorite, I used Leo Marx’s image of the machine in the garden to reflect on a childhood spent in a place entangled in the roots of my family tree.
Here’s a different, more straightforward post on the same image.
I was out tromping around in the Ogeechee River swamp this morning. I came across two very large cypress trees. The diameter of each was something like 22-24 feet, four feet from the ground. My hat in one picture will help you with proportions.
These giants survived the sawmill, in one case because it is hollow, in the other maybe because it’s hard to get at. But if you turn up the volume on your computer and listen closely, you just may hear in the background of this one-minute video, showing the river as it runs down to McCroan’s Bridge, the grinding and whinging of machinery clearing a nearby section of wooded bottomland.
This is what civilization looks like in the swamp:
Forests can replenish themselves, under the right conditions. Still, there’s something sobering about the fact that in one morning, a few men with heavy machinery can cut down tree after tree that had been growing on that spot for many decades.
Maybe we can all resolve to try to picture this image, or one like it, the next time we’re tempted to buy something we don’t need and don’t really want, as Maya Lin would have us do.
Also, to the dumbshits who drop their litter in our swamp: The least you can do is drink decent beer.