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Monday, May 24. 2010
Had almost the entire crew working on the farm this weekend clearing out the overgrown meadow. The crew included my 5 year-old nephew who my Greenie sister was teaching to cut saplings in the meadow with clippers.
Says I, encouragingly, to the young lad "Remember, every time you kill a baby tree, God smiles."
Do you think that was the right thing to say?
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Isn't there something somewhere about "taking the name of the Lord in vain"? Or, as some say "You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name."
And he's not a waiter either, to bring you stuff you pray for.
1. It is not blasphemous to joke about God, as long as you worship Him. If God can't handle that, what can He handle?
2. Not a waiter, but it is arrogant not to ask Him for anything and everything you need.
3. But you missed my whole point, which was not about God at all.
Having second thoughts about a bit o' mischief in sarcasm, are we? Yeah, I got a sister, too. Since you asked, I'd say five years old is too young to bank a shot off of at your sister. Better to wait til neph is savvy enough to get the sarcasm and can join in the fun. If this is the most worrisome faux pas of your speaking career, don't agonize too much. Sooner or later you will do worse.
If you were trying to plant a little seed of discord to counter current enviro-pottiness, good on ya, but if your sister is a card-carryin' member of the movement, it will be choked in a thicket of nonsense. Poor little fellow. Still, keep it up, Uncle!
Number one, you have no idea whether God was smiling. It would have been more honest to say, "Every time you kill a baby tree, Uncle Bird Dog smiles." Or, "Trees are beautiful and we love them in the forest, but they are bad in the meadow, so we are going to take them out."
But your point was about whether it is good to kill babies? Help us out, BD. You have been a little obtuse lately.
Re trees taking over meadows: it happens, unless meadows get mowed and/or baby trees get clipped. There is more forest in CT than there was 150 years ago, due to abandoned farmland. It is still happening.
It's a bit lawyerish, isn't it, to argue that there is some heretofore unknown sub-clause about how you can make wrongful use of the name of God so long as you worship Him? If a joking reference to God to make a point to a child, or to twit a silly sister, isn't wrongful use, what is?
Sorry old boy, mortal sin, off to reconciliation with you, or whatever, if you're not RC. Then God will smile, as he does when we properly and carefully kill a tree that needs killing in order for man to properly fill the earth and subdue it, which is definitely not every tree, every time.
Okay, now I get it -- it was an enviro-weenie dig at your sister. Sorry for being slow on the uptake. It was still not good.
A little bit of a dig, but also a bit of my opinion that God loves sunny meadows overlooking beaver marshes and surrounded by deep Hemlock woods. But I might be wrong.
BD - This is getting kind of serious, big guy. According to Jerry "America's Gardener" Baker's excellent book "Plants Are Like People" (and my personal gardening bible), plants scream in pain when you pluck their leaves.
When it comes to uprooting young trees, well, I suppose the operative word is...
But that's just Mr. Baker talking. I'm sure plants and trees don't actually scream in pain when hurt.
At least, not audibly.
Somewhat OT, no doubt blasphemous, and I may originally have seen this here at Maggie's, but it was called to mind from this little discussion:
GOD AND ST. FRANCIS DISCUSSING LAWNS
GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?"
ST. CATHERINE: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord. It's a really stupid movie about.....
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
There are few things that result in more work than trying to make a patch of One's Little Empre look "natural".
I may go through the effort of trying to grow some wild roses from cuttings of actual wild roses. If anyone has good, blasphemous advice about how to make that work, please pass it along.
Remember, every time you kill a baby tree, [i]Saturn[/] smiles.
Remember, every time you kill a baby tree, Saturn smiles.
Using God's name in vain is to assume that your opinions or views of the world are those of God's - and applying His name thusly.
It is also using God's name in the act of condemnation.
It is NOT using God's name within a joke. God may or may not have a sense of humor, so it's a bit hard to assume He simply does. But if we can apply some logic:
1. God provides what is best in the world, and gives us some dominion over how to use it in a proper fashion.
2. Humor is frequently one of the great joys of this world, when applied lovingly, fairly, and honestly.
It is fair to assume God has a sense of humor, and is willing to laugh at Himself. Because the ability to laugh at oneself is the key to understanding the enjoyment of humor.
Not so much of a stretch, really, when you think about it.
It's probably also true, as part of the "dominion over" concept, that God is pleased when saplings are removed in order to cultivate good healthy growth of existing flora.
While another new tree would also make Him happy, if the happiness is compounded for many by said removal - it's a fair cop.
My sister is a greenie, too. More like a weenie, though. I tire of the lectures on the horrors of cable TV (my industry), the benefits of organic food (I'm eating street meat here in NYC at the moment), and how I'm just a Conservative boor (I'm actually a Libertarian philosophical).
Well lets realize that God created meadows as well as forests to provide different ecosystems a place to be. So helping to keep a meadow a meadow and halting the progress of tree seedings is just helping maintain the proper place for the trees and the meadow.
As a cattle raiser I work hard to maintain pastures and meadows as well as working to reestablish Native grasses so I can relate to getting the trees to go away. Cut them, treat the stumps and move on.
One area where trees and meadows are an ongoing issue is the TX hill country. In the 19th century the grass was overgrazed, due to the thin soil, and cedar trees invaded. Cedar trees, once there, remain. While it is possible to get rid of cedar trees and reestablish meadows, it is an expensive and never-ending process.
Take it from an old logger, if God didn't smile, I sure did.
He directed us to exercise dominion over the earth. As far as I'm concerned, you weren't joking.
BOY Aint that the truth. Drive from Decatur to SA and the cedars are big time bad. Missouri and Nebraska has same problem. I cut 30 this week to sink n my pond for fish cover....took me less than an hour and a half to get them all cut and you cannot see where I cut.