For comparison: the opening of chapter 6 of Eating the Sun
The agency of animals is a visible thing. Their eyes blink, their gills flutter, their hackles rise, their pulses set the rhythm for their lives. They move back and forth, here and there, drawing their histories out behind them like the blur of a cheetah or the slime of a slug. The lines of their lives criss-cross the world, from the gyres of the ocean-circling albatross to the stochastic pinballing of a fly against a windowpane. The whole point of being an animal is trying to get somewhere else. Quite a few—let’s hear it for the oysters—have given up on this birthright, and rely on currents and providence to bring them their world. But most of us have not.
Plants, on the other hand, very rarely move themselves around; they just grow, and in almost every case they do so imperceptibly. By and large, the agency of plants is invisible. This is the simplest, and perhaps the most profound, of the differences between those that eat light and those that eat others. It is why plants have a relationship with their environment both more intimate and more abstract than that of any animal. It is why they have no faces and no hearts.
This great difference stems from the fact that sunlight is, at the efficiencies photosynthesis is capable of, a rather dilute source of energy….
…Trees are generally pleasing to look at, with the exception of the birch, which comes off as a bit “uppity”. But what’s below all the eye candy?
Well it turns out that trees make oxygen, which is important to many people worldwide. A tree can also be converted into wood, which has several uses, although once it becomes wood, the tree loses its oxygen-providing capability, so it’s a double-edged sword.
If that’s all there was to it, trees would be a no brainer. But as always, there are complications lurking below the surface.
First of all, trees take a long time to “grow”. You can start a tree now and possibly be dead by the time it starts to provide a significant benefit to you. This requires a degree of philanthropism on your part to even begin the process.
Additionally, leaf-bearing trees generate a huge mess every year, rudely dumping last season’s fashion everywhere with callous disregard to property values or the volume of work required to clean them up.
Trees also provide sanctuary to filthy birds who chirrup endlessly in the small hours of the morning, despite this author’s yells and throwing of little rocks. [Whole thing]
The cartoon’s by Rosemary Mosco, coloured by Stephanie Yue, all rights reserved, and will be taken down if she has a problem with it …[update: she didn’t, except to point out that Stephanie deserved a shout out.] Thanks to Jenny for spotting it
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