Sullen Silence

longleafpine1       weightsign

One of our  spectacular Longleaf Pine Trees and the obviously ignored weight limit sign on our road


As most of you know,  passion comes  easily when it concerns watching over Florida’s  Wild things for me and patience does not visit me very often.

Well, for the past week to ten days, my patience has been pushed to the limit and beyond!

And today, it finally snapped.

We have watched,  with gritted teeth every single day,  as logging trucks go past our house filled to the top with fairly young-looking pine trees, 5-9 trips every day,  for close to ten days now.

Yes, we were both counting them all.

So, what was it that broke the sullen silence on our part, you may ask?

It was when truck number two went  down our road this morning.

All of the other days,  it had always, only,  been a red one, but today,  the red one and a new blue went down our road to collect more trees.

That was it, I could not take it any more and started calling.

It began with our local Sheriff, which turned out to be a very nice call, they politely referred me to someone  in the State Forest Department.

From there,  it was on to the top of the list at the Florida Forest Service.

Mr. A.  was most polite, extremely  knowledgeable and quite patient, this last part was key to the success of this call.

He listened, so rare these days, and answered my many questions about the  “what, when,  who and why.”

And finally, the dreaded,   “but why not?”

I kept hearing words that turned my stomach like , “they will grow back really fast”  and ” it’s  good for everything”  when they are cut.

I know that this man meant well and that he is an expert on the subject.  So then why did I  feel so bad?

Because in the end, no one can,  or will stop this.

The polite, carefully structured, carefully worded call,  left me with such an empty feeling.

Like I had failed, again.

Something that, since beginning this Blog one year ago,  has become a familiar experience, one I do not like much!

As he clearly said several times, any owners of land near us,  can cut as many trees down as they like, even the Longleaf Pine because,  he said,  “it was NOT an Endangered Plant.”

When he claimed that they could even cut this tree down, my heart sank.

There was no hope, if this was true, although I could not understand how it could be so.

It is also unnerving that these trucks filled to the top with trees,  are absolutely over the posted weight limit for our road and NO ONE apparently is concerned in the least.

Even he admitted,  that they were most likely over weight!

Can you even imagine meeting one of these trucks head-on,  on any of the countless sharp curves on our road?

Think there would be any survivors in the car?

A brief history is in order for your better understanding.

At one time this magnificent tree covered most of the entire South-Eastern United States, there were millions of them, like the  nearly eradicated Bison in the West, both with pretty much the same ending.

Too often, Humans rule and take what and when they wish,  with frequently little concern for the future of a species, or plant.

Several places referred to new plans for re-introducing this tree in other Southern States,  but wouldn’t  it be better to not take all of them in the first place and then have to do this?

Just asking?

The worst part of all of this,  is the number of animals whose very existence depends on this very particular tree, like the now nearly extinct  red cockaded woodpecker  and others.

Here are my own words, on my website, about this magnificent Tree:  Gatorwoman/longleafpine


A few places to learn more:

The Longleaf Pine

The Longleaf Pine or Pinus palustris

Longleaf Pine

Longleaf Pine For Sale  (Maybe everyone one who cut them down should have to replace them)




32 thoughts on “Sullen Silence

  1. You’d think the tree would count as endangered if it was such a popular home for an endangered woodpecker. Well, I think calling may not do anything other than put ideas into other peoples minds. Perhaps your call is one of many sparks that will eventually change our perception of what we “can” cut down. So for that I thank you.

  2. A fascinating history and discussion on your webpage, Gator Woman. Thank you for sharing this!

    I can relate to your feeling of helplessness as you witness the destruction. I remember how I felt when I lived in northern Wisconsin on 40 acres surrounded by national forest. There was nothing I could do to stop the clear-cutting or the logging trucks that tore up the single-lane dirt road to my house. I remember reflecting on how much greater the hopelessness my Ojibwe ancestors must have been when they lost almost everything. Somehow knowing that Ojibwe people survived despite all of the losses helped me accept what I really could not change.

    • I am afraid that I often struggle with the word “acceptance,” as when it comes to animals and Native people it more often translates to being, either abused or obliterated, or both.
      I would bet that there is not an Irish or Shawnee word for it either~
      Just not in our nature.

      • I do agree about the word “acceptance.” A more accurate way of describing my decision is to say that I chose to focus on compelling issues that were my responsibility to address at the time. I made my concerns known to the U.S. Forest Service with no measurable impact and then focused on what I could hope to change (reducing infant mortality and child removal rates in tribal communities). Fighting with the U.S. Forest Service on my own was likely to be a long-term intensive contest with little likelihood of success.

        The trees did grow back in this case, and while they grew, my 40 acres of forested land amid the clear-cut offered sanctuary for local wild life.

        It’s often hard for me to figure out which challenges to face — it seems there are always too many…

  3. Sooner rather than later we need to look at forests as an integrated ecosystem, if you take one species out other species will suffer like a domino effect. We have already fished our oceans to the brink of collapse, we are doing the same to our forests.

    • We are not alone here, it is happening all over the world and we must stop it before there are no trees left.
      Our planet would be a grave yard without the canopies of beautiful trees that once existed from Coast to Coast.
      I don’t remember who said it, but the quote was ” You could walk on the tops of the canopies from New England to the Mississippi River. That can no longer be said, or done!

  4. We lived in St. Johns Co. for 13 yrs. in the middle of a 10,000 acre pine forest that was being developed. I sat and watched and cried one day as the people who had bought the 1-acre lot next to us had bulldozers brought in and demolish every tree on that lot. Those people put up a shoddy house, lived in it one year and then left. Our 1&1/4 acre lot was given careful planning and every tree except 2 was retained for the same size house. We loved and respected the forest and remained sick every time we saw what had been done next to us – and there wasn’t a thing we could do about it. I sincerely sympathize with your feelings of anger and anguish.

    • Those who have no regard for trees, have no regard for life, theirs or the planets’.
      I am too stubborn to be quiet, and must at least try, or I will have to live with the consequences of my silence.

      • AMEN – individually our voices may be small, but if everyone who understands the need to respect and take care of our entire environment would speak up, we could be heard clear across the universe. Keep up the good work. Will keep on the look-out for your blogs.

  5. I read this and enjoyed it very much. I loved reading about the Morning Glory and the Pawpaw trees.

  6. Every species affects others and so the long domino chain goes. Only man does not fit into that chain called Nature and we seemed determined to destroy it.

  7. if I were seeing the same thing… My heart would likewise be broken. It breaks when I see ONE tree cut down, for no reason. I see how much LIFE one single tree supports — so the sheer ignorance of our species in their devastation continues to blow my mind. I read your post, just after seeing this Hermann Hesse quote… And it hurts the heart even more.

    A tree says: My strength is trust.
    I know nothing about my fathers,
    I know nothing about the thousand children that
    every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed
    to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me.
    I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

    • Once again, or as always, your words are a shot straight to the heart.
      How can I thank you enough for this beautiful quote?
      It equals, or even surpasses, my all time favorite by Kilmer.
      If there were, but so many more like you, the Planet might have a
      chance to survive what Humans have wrought!
      God Bless you, my little tree hugger~

  8. I’ve never associated pine trees with Florida! Being from Canada, I associate them with our wooded areas. In my area, there is a group of bird watchers who do species inventories. I wonder if there is such a group in your area and if they are or will be seeing any change in numbers next year.

    • We live just on the fringe of the Ocala National Forest here in Central Florida.
      And it is so beautiful and peaceful here and filled with wild everything.
      And seeing all of these trees going down the road on logging trucks is just unbearable.

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