Wednesday, September 30th, 2009...21:04


Jump to Comments

My wife and I took a short road-trip up the northern coast of California over Labor Day Weekend to visit the old growth Redwood forests. I have had an interest in the Giant Sequoias and Coastal Redwoods, the largest and tallest living organisms respectively, for some time now. Standing next to a 1000 year old tree, with a trunk 20-30+ feet in diameter, 50 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, which started out as a seed 1/8th of an inch in diameter, resonates with me (similar to knowing how vast the expanse of space can make one feel insignificant). Some of these 300+ foot tall trees one can stand next too were easily 100 feet tall during the signing of the Magna Carta, have witnessed floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunami’s, the birth of this country etc.

At home, I’ve been caring for a number of redwood seedlings, the most recent of which I picked up at the California State Fair two years ago. Eventually I hope to own some land where I can plant the trees and watch my own personal grove form. Unless a quantum leap in medicine takes place, I won’t live long enough to see the trees become giants, but it’s surprising how big the trees can get in 20 years given the right conditions. At the Humbolt Redwoods State Park they have one of each species planted ~20 years ago and they all look like “real” trees. With the right care, I believe it’s possible to grow a 100+ foot tall tree in the next 50 years i.e. hopefully within my lifetime.


The text in various state and national park brochures pointed out many of the forests looked just as they did during prehistoric times, and it’s true as one walks amongst the trees through the fern and sorrel carpeted undergrowth, the scenery appears the way one would expect (based on illustrations and movies) during the time of the dinosaurs. Reasons abound as to why the forest I stood in represented an exception, no longer the norm. Aside from human influences such as logging, or dare I say Global Warming, nature has its own way of evolving and adapting (or not). My understanding of, or perhaps more correctly belief in Nature is that it programs organisms to stay the course unless forced to stray. Sure mutations occur which may or may not lead to stronger/weaker variations, but the main modus operandi seems to be, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If the surroundings can be controlled and maintained in a steady state, very little would change, and probably nothing if mutations were also removed from the equation. In practice, most organisms’ surroundings constantly change which causes the organism itself to adapt or die triggering changes in its surroundings and thereby an endless feedback loop.

The cornerstone of our current president’s administration is Change. It goes against our natural programming, which makes it difficult to accept, but it’s also a necessity since we are not giant trees in the middle of a National Park. The goal is not to maintain the status quo until the end of time, we are not here to preserve a moment in time for eternity. Tradition, history, etc. all have their place and that place is education so we are better prepared to affect and accept change. I very much enjoy having the luxury of walking through forests that echo a prehistoric time, but that does not mean I want to be a tree in one.

Comments are closed.