My son the Lorax

family homestead story

“Papa, the Lorax talks to me.”
“Does he?”
“Yes he does, and he tells me things about the trees. Yeah, and I talk to the trees too.”

Tadg has been talking to the trees for some time now, he only learned recently that there were others in the world like him (at least in Dr. Seuss’s world.) Its not uncommon for him to point out a “healing” tree, as he calls it. This started when he was three. You’d think his attraction to trees was fostered by us, but it seems to come naturally to him. A specimen on or near our land will catch his eye, he may speak to it or just describe its unique powers.

Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas

“The Lorax speaks for the trees Papa, so do I, I speak for the trees!” He takes great satisfaction in this certainty.

Someday I’ll be able to tell him his job as a spokesman for the trees was championed by our longest seated Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas, in his Dissent in Sierra club v. Morton April 19, 1972:

“The ordinary corporation is a ‘person’ for purposes of the adjudicatory processes, whether it represents proprietary, spiritual, aesthetic, or charitable causes. So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even the air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life.”

Corporations are people, trees are not. Nor are rivers, valleys mountains or oceans, thats the state of things despite his well argued dissent. He goes on to describe who might act as Lorax for these natural wonders:

“Those who hike the Appalachian Trail into Sunfish Pond, New Jersey and camp or sleep there, or run the Allagash in Maine or climb the Guadalupes in West Texas, or who canoe and portage the Quetico Superior in Minnesota, certainly should have standing to defend those natural wonders before courts or agencies, though they live 3,000 miles away.”

I am the Lorax, I speak for the Trees!

Our intimacy with the community of beings that make up a place might give us the standing we need to speak for it in court. Such intimacy is really the lower lake of a spring that is born in childhood. Romping in a world full of natural wonders carves tributaries for the ardor required of a mature Lorax.
Its amazing to me that a person in Douglas’s position would take a stand so easily ridiculed in our culture. Whats more, he does it with such plain common sense its hard for anyone with the shred of a soul left to refute. Lorax’s are unafraid to speak the truth in any circumstance, and the clarity of their truth is inescapable.
I think a good Lorax is one part Hayduke, one part shaman, and whatever is left can contain no bullshit. The job of Lorax is not just about preserving the harmony of the natural world, its also about defending its wildness. Its about keeping the spirit of nature beyond the cravings of the modern world. That requires an unflinching eye and a deep heart.
What would a society of Lorax’s look like? Probably very pissed off. Even Suess’s Lorax was a pretty sour tempered creature, can you blame him? We could sure use some hell-raising on behalf of our Great Mother. Hmmmmmmm…..

How about a Lorax Congress?
Sound strange to you, well not to me!
A place for them to gather,
those that speak for the trees.

Scientists, politicians and professional buffoons need not apply,
this is a place simply for caring,
a place where one dare not lie.

There they would gather and talk of the land,
what harms the fish,
who’s trees are threatened by the loggers hand.
No creature to small, no problem to big,
for the Lorax Congress will even care for a twig.

The job of Lorax would be full time,
especially welcomed are grandmothers, grandfathers,
and those who are ready for a new paradigm.

To pay for all this we might need a tax,
hmmm, that sounds fine, a Lorax tax.

They tax us for roads they build,

and electricity they make,
they tax us to print more money,
even though we all know that money is fake.
They tax us for lazer guns that toss
a gold plated super-smart grenade,
they tax us for games the big bankers played.
They tax us for this and they tax us for that,
why not a phat tax for the Lorax?
With this tax we would not build,
we would not plow or poison,
we would simply pay those who listen,
we would help support those whom nature has chosen.

A Lorax knows when a tree is talking.
and when a black-berry bramble is ramblin.
A lorax knows when a blue-jay starts sqwakin,
she may be saying that something is about to happen.

With a Lorax Congress fully in place,
there might be less fuel for factories I suppose,
but more of more for all of us,
not just the human race.

Besides, one day my son might need a job,
and I think a Lorax is just what he’ll be.
You see he’s one of those special people,
he’s one who speaks for the trees.

Maybe you’re one too,
would this shoe fit?
All it takes is one moment,
to read Lorax Douglas’s awesome judicial writ.

Then you’ll know,
just as sure as a tide will rise,
you’re part Lorax too,
I can see that stubborn glint in your eyes.


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