The California Redwoods
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
We have seen some wondrous things on this journey, and on our travels in the past. But the redwoods; well, they are simply magical. First, there is the intense quiet that surrounds them. They speak to you in whispers, from centuries of wisdom. You can hear them if you listen closely. They say come…feel the silence…know the spirit of nature. It’s a feeling I won’t soon forget. Photography is not the way to experience them, but for now, it’s all I can give. Please, if you haven’t experienced them, find a way to do so.
The largest among them are taller than Niagra Falls and weigh up to a million pounds. One that fell in a major storm registered on seismographs 10 miles away, where residents thought it was a train wreck. They are wide enough to drive through and have withstood lightning strikes, fierce windstorms and even loggers who tried to destroy them. Some are so large that offshoots which grow out of their sides are as large as most normal trees.
There is no way to capture the spirit or the size of any of these beautiful specimens. I saw a National Geographic article that stitched together 4 photos for a single shot of a tree. It’s worth a visit at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/redwoods/gatefold-image . In print it was a 4-page fold-out. And beautiful. I remember a story some time ago about a woman who camped on a platform for months on a tree they were threatening to cut down. Now I understand why.
The National Park people have given them ridiculous names like “Big Tree”, “Giant Tree”, etc. I figured out later that that’s because there are really no words to describe them.
And beyond their size and splendor, they serve as sentinels for many other life forms, including wonderful ferns and a myriad of other plant and insect species.
Karle Wilson Baker said it much better than I could have. “Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.” My sentiments exactly.