Monday, October 12, 2015

The Sad Trees of Chernobyl

The sad trees of Chernobyl
are talking to the forests of Fukushima.
They are weighted with the grief
of being life-givers
who now bear radioactivity,
illness and death.
The wind blows through their branches,
wafting cancer towards the villages
where people are suffering and dying,
or being born already encumbered
by cells of death.*

"We are sad," say the trees,
"and we are lonely.
Because we carry the poison germs,
the people no longer come
to walk under our branches.
The children may not play and climb
and laugh along our limbs.
We have always been bearers of life
and now we are bearers of disease."

They wave their arms and weep,
these gentle tree-beings,
but, sadly,
even their tears
are filled with

* trees hold radioactivity for a very long time. People within the vicinity of a radioactive "accident" are forbidden to go into the surrounding forests.

I have been profoundly impacted by re-reading Joanna Macy's  Widening Circles, which charts her journey through understanding the dangers of nuclear reactors, even in their dormant state, to the fate of the earth. Joanna, in her workshops all over the world, always begins with an Elm Dance, the people standing, becoming trees, and dancing together, arms waving like branches. 

The dance is for the healing of the trees, the planet, and all of its life forms - and to renew one's purpose of intention : to work towards a better and safer world for all beings. (Remembering that trees are beings, as are all life forms, and worthy of our care and concern.) As one of the women at the workshops said, "We are all branches of the same tree." That we are.


  1. Love. I would weep for these trees and dance for them too.

  2. The dangers of the world all caused by man. Sad indeed.

  3. This is beautiful and so sad. If only we all would dance.

  4. Cheer up. I just read in the "It Wasn't All Bad" section of The Week magazine, that the area around Chernobyl has responded to the absence of humans by becoming more populated with animals, including wolves, than even most nature preserves can boast.

  5. humans could be so inhuman without having respect for all life i'm cheering up at Fireblossom's comment...

  6. A very sad thought.. and yes I know it very well, some of the forests are still affected by Chernobyl here in Sweden.. so far from that accident. I plan to read Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.. I'm currently reading another of her books, an amazing way of writing.. To truly understand the humans of Soviet....

  7. How very sad, Sherry. The effects of Chernobyl live on.. What devastation humans have managed to accomplish.

  8. So sad Sherry. It's amazing how we are destroying this world.


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