The Overstory was peculiar, and yet it was very insightful about humanity’s relationship to that group of individuals many of whom lived back when the dinosaurs did–trees. The personalities and the histories of the main characters are arranged like branches coming from the common root which is humanity. I have a particular friend that this book reminds me of. Alas, she doesn’t really like getting books from me. Yet as a person who studied the sciences in college, she came to the conclusion that, “human beings are only different from rutabagas in terms of complexity.” I don’t really agree.
My one bone of contention with her and the author of The Overstory is that animals, though they deserve to be loved and taken care of (whether domestic or wild) are not the “Crown of Creation” I still believe humans to be. I know nobody will like my views: I personally even believe that animals and plants and even stones have souls which will exist in the afterlife, but that each has it’s own “kind” of soul, with human beings at the top of the hierarchy save one: God. Nonetheless, I do believe that the earth is sacred, and that God gave it to us on loan.
Thinking about this, I remember the death of my dog Rosebud and the fact that the EPA, having been gutted, is–if nothing is done–going to allow the Gray Wolf to be driven to extinction. They are “top tier predators” which are valuable to gage how well the environment as a whole is doing. Isn’t it ironic that people love dogs and yet cannot see their beloved pets in the wild creature in North America? True, it is not safe to pick up a wolf cub or walk up to touch a wolf. Yet these majestic creatures represent the wilderness. I remember an American Indian story I heard in my childhood in which a tribe is debating whether the white settlers can stay. Finally somebody spoke up, “You may have agreed whether the white man can stay. But who speaks for Brother Wolf?”
Just so, in The Overstory, the trees are joined together as one to try to curb the anti-environmental tide of humanity; like the American Indians, the writer believes all life is sacred.