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The ways of the forest

Everything has a job in the forest.
By David Cohen
Spring 2010 2.15.10

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mushroom log

(Jim Jurica/istockphoto)

Cutting wood, I leave a log to rest on in the path to the woodpile. I walk past that log every week and watch it change. Mushrooms grow on it; then fungi and mold; insects come and go. The log gets smaller, but ever so slowly. After eight years I kick at it, and it falls into smaller bits. A year or two later and I can no longer tell where it lay. It is a life; it is my life; it is the way of nature and the world. It makes me feel a part of the whole cycle: I feel at peace.

I believe in the forest: Everyone has a job in the forest. Everyone knows its job. The trees and plants grow together in harmony; everyone shares the sun, soil, and water. Everyone follows the rules and respects each other. Seasons come and go, and everyone knows what to do. Leaves fall, and the tiniest creatures recycle them. The animals who live in the forest know their parts in the drama and cooperate. Some eat of the forest while others are eaten. In the end, everyone dies and is recycled anew.

Everything and everyone is needed and does its part: Theirs is a true interdependence. It is nature’s way evolved over time—truly a miracle of balance. I believe in the ways of the forest.


“This I Believe,” delivered to Skagit UU Fellowship in Mount Vernon, Washington, on November 29, 2009.

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