The Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Richard Powers has been described as “a fable”. Fable means truth. From the Latin, “that which is told”, and Webster, “a narrative intended to enforce a useful truth.”
A useful truth says we need to stop. Stop and consider. Stop and consider and protect.
Powers intertwines the lives of eight human’s in his narrative, telling their stories over a span of decades of connecting branches. This alone would be a triumph endowed, but in this homo sapien overstory there are swelling roots and towering trunks of a tale of arborescence supporting humanity’s grasp at life.
A literary sentinel stands to secure circulation of a message that has dire need of delivery and, more importantly, action. The reason for Powers’ message:
The world had 6 trillion trees, when people showed up. Half remain. Half again will disappear, in a hundred years.
The effects of the maltreatment of our planet do not have distant ramifications. We see collapse in our ecosystems now in Puerto Rico, California, the Arctics. You can’t be enraged for these crimes without seeing the damage and understanding the root sin in man’s actions.
The Overstory plants a seed that goes;
a seed that knows.
One that can bring us home,
and restore this world’s broken bone’s.