The Reality of Trees

Forest in South Island, New Zealand

We do not look at trees either as Dryads or as beautiful objects while we cut them into beams: the first man who did so may have felt the price keenly, and the bleeding trees in Virgil and Spenser may be far-off echoes of that primeval sense of impiety. The stars lost their divinity as astronomy developed, and the Dying God has no place in chemical agriculture. To many, no doubt, this process is simply the gradual discovery that the real world is different from what we expected... but that is not the whole story. It is not the greatest of modern scientists who feel most sure that the object, stripped of its qualitative properties and reduced to mere quantity, is wholly real. Little scientists, and little unscientific followers of science, may think so. The great minds know very well that the object, so treated, is an artificial abstraction, that something of its reality has been lost.

C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (1943)

While visiting New Zealand in November and December 2005, we visited Mount Doom, Mordor, Gollom's Pool in the North, and Isengard, Fangorn forest, the Misty Mountains, and Treebeard in the South. Gullible tourists?
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