These photographs were made in 1986 and 1987 while tree-planting in Northern Ontario. Living and working outdoors in the remote bush changed how I thought about life.
While I knew about clear-cutting, or thought I did, I was not prepared for the scale or intensity of the devastation I witnessed. Nor was I expecting the effect that being in the natural world without all the artificial comforts of home would have on me when I returned.
Adapting to the harsh environment was invigorating; the heat and cold, rain and snow, clouds of ravenous insects out for my blood, and large dangerous animals into whose habitat I was intruding made me feel more alive and connected to the natural universe than I had felt before.
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of mists rising over lakes at dawn, the call and response of birds and other creatures welcoming the coming day's struggles and joys, and the astonishing complexity of it all. At one point I remember looking up at an airliner passing thousands of meters above all this and imagining the passengers strapped into their seats eating a meal of boiled chicken and grey vegetables, completely unaware of the beautiful living diversity beneath the plane's titanium skin.
Returning to 'civilization' was a shock. It was as though we were all sleep-walking, careless of the mechanized devastation necessary to grow our voracious 'consumer economy', oblivious to our vital connection with the delicate balance of life on this planet.
© David Evans
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