mwgoodale at aol.com
Tue Feb 27 16:04:11 EST 1996
I am senior biology major at the Colorado College. This a piece of fiction
that felt was pertinent to our position today. Its not very long so please
read it write comments to me directly on e-mail. mwgoodale at aol.com. Thanks
by Wing Goodale
****March 3, 1974****
John looked out the window and watched his children Bruce, Teddy, and
Tracy tumbled out of the yellow school bus onto the front lawn. The
giggled at something they had heard on the bus and ran up the dirt pathway
to the white clapboard New England farm house.
John was a content man. He worked long hours for the Yankee paper company
in northern Maine. During the week he spent four days up in the forest and
then he was able to come home to the warmth of his family. He was better
off than his father had been and for the first time in generations, the
Mangles were prosperous. Everyday before picking up his chainsaw John
would thank God for the forest and then started to work.
The kids clomped their way into the house and, typically, forgot to take
off their mud-caked shoes.
"Children," John boomed from his barrel shaped chest, "how many times have
I told you to take off your shoes?"
"More times than you can count," piped up the precocious eight year old
Teddy. John, and his wife Mary, were sure that he was going to be a rocket
"Son, don't talk back to your father."
"Yes Pop," Teddy said as he ran over to his father and wrapped his small
hands around John's powerful legs. Bruce came out from the porch holding
onto an old saw. John leaned down and rubbed his head.
"So what did you young whipper-snappers learn in school today?"
"We learned about trees Pop," Tracy said, her fourteen year old frame
bouncing across the room towards the cabinet, where all the children knew
the cookies were hidden.
"Where do you think you are going?"
"Me? Nowhere. We learned about trees and how it is bad that we're cutting
down all the forests and that there won't be any trees left. I told my
teacher that she was a dumb ass . . . ."
"Tracy! No cussing."
"Sorry. I told my teacher that she was a silly goose and that there tons
of trees left. My Pop says so."
"That's right honey."
****April 4, 1994****
John had watched his children grow up and face the challenges of being an
adolescents. He was proud. He had great children. Tracy had grown into a
beautiful young lady. The young men had chased her from one end of the
country to the other. She had finally settled on Tom Sholtz from Yarmouth.
The wedding had been a great production. John and Mary had sat in the
front row at the church, and watched their daughter say "I do," to the
strapping charismatic Tom. Mary was a mess of tears and Bruce had said
that he noticed a tear on his fathers cheek. John denied this charge, but
was overflowing with joy.
He had started taking Bruce out into the field with him at age fourteen.
Over the years he had told him everything about the subtle details that
every woodsman learns about dropping trees. He wanted to make sure that
his son would know the right side of the tree to be on when it fell, and
to worn his coworkers. Bruce loved to yell "Timber!" at the top of his
lungs. To some this seemed basic, but John grilled safety into his son
even under the ridicule from the other loggers.
Teddy was not physically large, but to everyone's surprise excelled in
school and was the first ever in the family to go to college. He had
boarded the bus in Yarmouth which had taken him down to University of
Virginia. John had mixed emotions about Teddy's success. He knew that as
soon as Teddy moved away from home that he would see so much and that his
simple life would no longer seem appealing. This was the case and over
time he did not come home as often, but he seemed to be doing great things
and was interested in foreign affairs. Over the phone Teddy would talk
excitedly about the travesties facing people over seas in some far off
place. John would agree to words he didn't understand.
Mary pointed out that it was wonderful that their little boy was so
worldly. He was going to make a difference. John agreed on a rational
level, but underneath wished his son was back home working the woods with
Bruce. He was always appalled by how soft Teddy's hands were. Since he had
left home he lifted books instead of logs.
Over the years John and Bruce had to drive farther and farther to work
every day. They were pushing the forest back. One day as they drove to
work in the old red Chevy Bruce asked his father, "do you really think
that we will have a job in twenty years. Will there be any forests left?"
This question had been eating a John as well, but Yankee had assured him
that there was no problem.
"We are only one part of the project here. There is some other part of
Yankee that is actually planting trees in place of the ones we cut. From
what I understand they are planting just the ones we want to cut. So we
don't have to work around the trash trees."
"Well that sounds pretty good. So I have to tell you I am really beginning
to like this girl Molly." For the rest of the ride they spoke about
Bruce's thoughts about marrying Molly. That would be wonderful John
****February 27, 2014****
John sat in his rocking chair which had been his fathers. He was feeling
nostalgic and was looking through photo albums with his gnarled hands and
reflected upon his life. He was truly a happy man. He had been happily
married, had three wonderful children which had all been successful and
now he was finally able to rest and live off the money which he had spent
his life earning. His thoughts were broken when Bruce burst through the
"Pop, Jesus, you've got to see this. Oh man we are in deep."
"Son, how many times have I told you not cuss. I don't care what has
happened, nothing deserve to take God's name in vain. Is this clear?"
"Good, now tell me what has happened."
"You've got to come see for you self. They say it was caused by some
bacteria. You've got to come and see this for your self." John eased
himself out of his chair, called to Mary and told her that he was going to
go out, and put on his old hunting jacket. They got into Bruce's new
modern truck. It had so many button's that John had no idea how his son
operated the confounded thing. They drove for an hour and a half through
an area that John had remember working in for years. Now what used to be a
lush forest consisted of houses interspersed fields and small stands of
trees. John quickly realized his son was taking him to the New Forest.
John had only been here a couple of times and had never really liked the
place. It seemed so fake to him. Not at all like the real forest. Bruce
was quiet the whole drive.
When they came around the corner, John saw something that made his skin
crawl. The new forest was black. The trees which all stood at the same
cultivated height where no longer green. The needles where covered in a
black fuzz. In every direction that he looked, the trees were dead or
That sat for ten minutes before John broke the silence.
"It's some bacteria. It started two months ago in this grove and we didn't
think much of it. But it spread so fast. It has hit the entire new forest.
That's all of it. The rest of the forest in . . ."
"I know. Its in that reserve up north. Is that alright."
"Oh its fine, but all of the New Forest its gone. I just don't understand,
nothing has ever happened like this before. Some biologist said something
about homogeneity," Bruce said stumbling over the unfamiliar word, "and
the forest didn't have any defenses left. I didn't really understand what
he was saying. Pop there are no more trees for me. They told us all today
that we should go home for a couple of days until they work this out. Fred
asked how long, they just said go home. I'm scared. I don't know if there
will be a going back."
"I'm sorry, I never had any idea something like this could happen," John
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