WHERE ARE YOU TAKING MY TREES?

A little boy walking on the newly cleared road for logging
Photo by Elodie Van Lierde

I looked down at my feet stuck in the red clay, I raised my head and before me lay a new passage, a new road was constructed through the thick jungle by a machine. I could see the small figure of the mechanical caterpillar in the distance munching away the forest in its path. I took a step and slipped, I quickly balanced myself and brought myself up to my feet. The new road was muddy and slippery from the continuous raining. From a distance, I heard a strange sound, that was the sound of the chainsaw cutting down the trees.

I followed the new road until I came upon the caterpillar, the machine had had its fill of the forest and came to rest for his belly was full. I noticed that the operator was an Asian man, he shouted to me some words but I didn’t understand what he was saying, angrily he started moving his hands motioning me to stay off the road. A big truck drove past me just as I was safely off the road, I saw it sped to where the sound of the chainsaw was coming from, I wanted to see what was happening so I ran after the truck, the Asian man jumped out of the caterpillar and told me to stop but I didn’t listen, I kept running.

I was nearly out of breath from running after the truck when I came to an opening, so this is where the road led to. The whole forest was cleared and in its place was a camp for the loggers. I could see logs upon logs piled up as big as a mountain. A big machine with forks was stacking the logs, I saw the big truck came to a halt beside the mountain of logs where the machine picked up logs and loaded them onto it.

Where are they taking the trees, I asked but no one was there to answer my question. After an hour passed, I saw the driver of the big truck jumped into the truck and started it and drove off to whence it came. I’m going to see where it is going I said and so I ran after it but this time, I couldn’t catch up.

I spotted a tree and climbed it to the top, the top of the tree gave me a panoramic view of the entire valley. My eyes followed the winding road until it reached the river, I saw the truck still on the road and on the river bank was a barge ready to load the logs and take them away.

I turned my focus to the logging camp area, the place was bare. On the tree top, I could see things clearly. I could see trees falling, I could hear the sound of the chainsaws but I couldn’t hear the birds. That part of the valley used to be covered in tropical rainforests, it is supposed to be hunting ground but alas, all I see now is bare valley with no trees. Now I see the Asian man with his machines cutting down my trees. Now I see my trees being loaded onto a barge to be taken away to god knows where.

I sat still on top of the tree lost in thought. I saw the logs getting loaded on to the barge and a few hours later, it floated downstream to the meet the sea. I watched until my trees and the barge was out of sight.

With a heavy heart, I climbed down the tree as the sun was setting over the mountain range, the place was growing dark, the sounds of the chainsaws had died and in the silence, I heard the chirping of the of the birds. Then a faint cry of the bird of Paradise was heard in the distance, it sounded sad. Was it mourning the loss of its home, if so then I must mourn with it for the forest is also my home.

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