You’re traveling on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula, and you see this tourism sign: “Duncan Memorial Cedar Tree.”
Gasoline is expensive, and the tree is a ways in on a pitted logging road.
It’s the skeleton of two rather medium-sized cedars that have grown together, with a few patches of scrubby branches at the top. It is not a truly big, old-growth cedar; it is dry, sick, and has no bark. It looks more like an ancient juniper than a healthy big cedar. It’s in the center of a scrubby, sprayed, dried-out tree farm. The only shiny, pretty things you’ll see around the cedar are the huge, new, blue-and-white “This is a Managed Forest” signs.
If you’re interested in what 200 years of logging has done to the native forest, it could be of historical note. If you’re interested in seeing a healthy, magnificent, oxygen-pumping tree and forest, it’s just depressing. Save your gasoline and offset the carbon footprint that’s been widened by this forest.
If you are determined to see it, pat it on its mutilated wood and apologize for your species. We did. And promised it that we’re well on the way to poisoning and diseasing our way back to a remnant population, so the planetary machine may have a chance.
There’s always hope.