Archive for July 23, 2008

Washington State: toothpicks

July 23, 2008

Imagine dumping out a box of toothpicks on your living room floor in a small pile. Now imagine you have an entire case of boxes of toothpicks and you make a row of little piles of toothpicks all the way across your livingroom.

Now imagine every single one of these toothpicks turns into a full-size tree – a log that’s thirty, forty or fifty feet long. Hard to imagine? You don’t have to imagine it; just visit the west coast of Washington. Its beaches are lined with piles of logs for as far as you can see in either direction. Driving along the coast you watch the road with one eye and the logs with another. There – there’s an opening! Someone, a person or maybe Mother Nature, herself, has created a small opening in the logs, a path where a person – moi – can actually stop his car, walk across the beach and stand in the surf of the mighty Pacific Ocean.

The millions of logs that line the beach at the high-tide mark are from a lumber industry that operated in this state for generations with no holds barred. These stray trees, stripped of their bark and once upon a time headed downriver to the sawmill, got away from the loggers and continued on downstream until they spilled into the Pacific.

Here they lie, speaking to past indiscretions and current non-actions.