The dull grayish-white bark of the beech tree stood innocently in the forest. The trail bent slightly towards the tree giving access to any that followed. The bark was soft and easily manipulated by the tools of man.
This particular hike headed to Hawks Cave, which is actually a shelter, at Ferne Clyffe. On the trunk was a misguided history etched with initials, hearts, and dates. Some of these markings the tree had reclaimed over time, but most were telling scars from the recent past.
I looked upon this act and wondered why we as humans feel the need to deface natural objects. I continued to the “cave” where I saw one again carvings, but this time on the rocks. These acts seemed more time consuming and again this begged the question, why?
I believe it is the same mentality that we buy souvenirs like t-shirts stating that we have been somewhere and done that. I am guilty of of this act myself. The blackish scars on the beech tree are the same attempt for ourselves to leave our mark and saying we have been there. We want to remember and be remembered by others, but this type is misspent energy.
Defacing our natural areas is a selfish attempt to make a claim on something that belongs to the people. With saying this, I also leave my graffiti, but in a different form. In the past I’ve wrote in journals and now practice a form of “electronic graffiti”. The act of defacing nature and “electronic graffiti” have similar motives. We want to leave traces of our voice and claim that we are here. My creative outlet though is this blog and it is my small attempt to have a voice and be remembered, but in a less destructive manner.