Trees speak, even in death

Lifeless, numbered, fated to become furniture, the dismembered corpses of ancient forest trees are stacked neatly in the Dandeli Timber Depot. Peer closely at these images gleaned from that brooding graveyard — your mind’s eye might detect fate-lines gone awry, cracked smiles, suppurating wounds, faces contorted in silent pain, broken hearts, gnarled palms clasped in futile prayer…

Along the northern coast,

Just back from the rock-bound shore, and the caves,
In the saline air from the sea, in the Mendocino country, 
With the surge for bass and accompaniment low and hoarse, 
With crackling blows of axes, sounding musically, driven by strong arms, 
Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes—there in the Redwood forest dense, 
I heard the mighty tree its death-chant chanting. 
The choppers heard not—the camp shanties echoed not; 
The quick-ear’d teamsters, and chain and jack-screw men, heard not, 
As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to join the refrain; 
But in my soul I plainly heard. 

from Song of the Redwood-Tree by Walt Whitman

Photographs: Sahastrarashmi

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