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“When They Are Gone, the Silence Goes”

This was originally published five years ago today in The Harris County Journal. Here’s to the last day in love month and a salute to that which I love so much –the land.

There is something in the forests.


A silence that lives among the giant oaks, poplars and sweet gums…trees so massive they inspire awe and reverence in those who touch their ancient trunks.

With recent rains, the underground springs are running full, freely forming small branches, and feeding the bigger creeks that flow into the Chattahoochee.


The gurgling waters quench the land’s thirst, making the air clean and the foliage shake with happiness.

I try to imagine what it must have looked like before we cut highways, drove cars, and dotted the landscape with our monuments.

How beautiful it must have been when one giant evergreen and hardwood forest-covered the Appalachian foothills that flattened out into a rain forest-covered river basin.


No wonder it is as beautiful as it is today.

It has always been so.

Not man-made, well-publicized, contrived beauty.

Natural beauty.

Natural beauty speaks for her self.

And when people are blessed with living in a country which is abundant in natural beauty, we have the responsibility to preserve that beauty…not change it, commercialize it, and plunder it.

“You know how long it takes to grow an 80-year-old tree?” asked my brother, who is an original in every way – especially in that he appreciated and preserved nature long before it was vogue to do so.

“No. How long?” I responded.

“Eighty years,” he answered.

We have the responsibility to be like the tall giants who protect the forests…those massive trees that give cohesion to the soil which molds the hills and valleys where the springs flow into branches that form the creeks which replenish the rivers.

We must be the force that holds our land together during feast and famine.

We must be the strength that says no to that which will compromise the beauty and yes to what will enhance it.

We must keep watch over the trees just as they keep watch over us and every other living creature.


Because when they are gone, the silence in the forest will be no more.

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