Talk of “divides” is all around us. Red/Blue, Urban/Rural, Rich/Poor, White/Brown…..
Of course it’s not new, but it seems to be more acute than at any other time in my brief sixty years. There seems to be agreement that is a problem deserving of our attention, which leads to the good question of “how”?
The Hyla Woods team thinks and cares about this issue and question. One answer that we’ve focused on seems simple and manageable – reach across a divide and find some reason to work together. It’s not rocket science – (or far more complex, ecosystem science) – but many drops of water do turn the mill. Here are examples of what we’ve done and learned by doing this.
We’ve identified products that grow in our forests that urban people need and we have provided them. Many years ago, thanks to a “block party” organized by our friends at Ecotrust, we met and visited with Christine and Robert. They’re both retired from interesting lives as members of religious orders, live in SE Portland and – most importantly – want a load of firewood each fall. They don’t want just any wood; they want wood from what feel is a well cared for forest. In addition to the “cord in the Ford” making the drop off each fall, we connect with them in other ways. They enjoy honoring the salmon that return to the forest each year and are always asking for updates on the ups and downs of life in the forests. With each passing year and interaction, we come to know one another – and the realities we live in – better.
We know that our main logging contractor (logger!) holds strong political opinions that are very different from our own. The day after the election I (peter) sent Brandon an invitation asking whether he would like to get together for a conversation over a greasy breakfast. Our getting together started with him smiling and declaring “I like food” and ended with us each understanding one another better and agreeing that the things we share in common and agree on are more important and powerful than the things we part company on. In between we discussed our hopes and fears for our country, our families, our local communities, and our businesses. Because we need him and he needs us, we look forward to continuing to work together. With hash browns and eggs in our bellies, he headed off to trouble shoot a blown hydraulic line on his loader and I set out to try to fix our sawmill.
Forests certainly do not heal all things, but they can help.