Pretty vs. Ugly

I am pretty sure I know where this story is going, its that old case of beauty in the hand of the beholder. But what is it when the beholder looks at something from a different perspective?

Spending a lot of time in the woods gives me time to look at things from many angles. Driving the skid road up hill, I am awed by the magnitude of the beauty of the tall trees, steep terrain, deep ravines and what sometimes seems like a tenuous path along the contour ridges of the forest landscape. To me this is pretty, but it wasn’t always that way.

While Mike was punching in the road, it was a slow and torturous process. Root balls of old stumps that were larger than the bulldozer had to be broken into pieces just to get them removed and out of the way from the intended road. U-shaped switchback corners had to be smoothed around the tops of ravines while still leaving a wide sweep area for full length trees longer than 120 feet to round the curves without getting hung up. The process was ugly.

Monitoring the seedlings and watching the progress as the newly planted patchworks of tree stands take hold and start to form new growth tips as they reach for sky is pretty. Even viewing the trail cam photos to see the elk cavorting around the logged openings in the woods and messing with those precious seedlings can be pretty as well as frustrating.

Looking closer at the areas that need attention can seem ugly. Those stands that are overgrown and too dense for optimum growth need attention before the trees become stagnant and choked. Getting into the thick stands to cut out the dead and dying trees, or ones that are deformed or broken can be an ugly process. Stumps, old root balls, limbs, trees from several years ago that are slowly decaying and other debris can cover large areas of the forest making some patches look ugly.

Scooting around the dirt with the dozer to sweep up the debris disturbs the thick carpet of spent needles and looks ugly until nature deposits the next coating of soft carpet to return the forest to beauty.

Looking up to see the necessary shafts of sunlight come through the canopy after thinning an area is more than pretty, it is pure beauty.

Logs destined for firewood being dragged behind bulldozerSeeing the twisted, gnarly, bent, deformed and pathetic outcasts being pulled out of the woods is  pretty ugly to the logger who has to drag the rejects out of the woods.

But as I follow along behind on the way to the landing, I see the beauty of the fiber that will be put into my deck and destined for firewood bundles rather than the timber log deck. Even the pretty ugly things can be pretty in the eyes of the beholder.



2 thoughts on “Pretty vs. Ugly

  1. Maybe that is why we love our forests so much. You get to appreciate a little bit of everything and see the full circle picture.

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