talltre.jpg (37034 bytes)
(photo: Paul Martin)

Danger -
men working in trees


October 1998

hey, don't you cut that tree!
he shouted in an angry voice across the street
and what could the surprised city workers say
to my environmentally conscious three-year-old son
besides OK... and look a little surprised

i didn't put him up to it
i didn't tell him to yell
i told him that squirrels and birds and bats live
in the trees that grow on our block
and that the trees are alive and have feelings
i said oh no! once when i heard the chainsaw outside

i've taken him to corporate-sponsored conferences
that did not provide childcare,
balanced him on my hip as i spoke into the mic
about how current forestry practices are dangerous
brought him with me to action group camp-outs
where he could listen to the lectures i gave
took him along with me to ottawa
for my internship at the Sierra Club
and gave him stickers that say "save the planet"

and he has remembered these things

he takes it upon himself to hug trees, asking, are you happy?
as he wraps his limbs around the trunks
takes it upon himself to make his voice heard by the
danger - men
working in trees
no matter how big they are and little he is

they will still cut down the tree with the
flourescent orange spraypaint mark on the bark
but i bet they will remember my son
and his heartfelt concern
and my son will remember his freedom to shout
and will probobly never cut down a healthy tree
because it is inconvenient or a source of wealth
but fight to protect them, like me
his activist mama

and i have done more effective activism
in being his example
than carrying a hundred placards could.