Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sequoias and Adversity

Giant "sequoias rely on fire to release most seeds from their cones, to expose bare mineral soil in which seedlings can take root, to recycle nutrients into the soil, and to open holes in the forest canopy through which sunlight can reach young seedlings." Mariposa Grove

John Muir "The Big Trees"

"There is no absolute limit to the existence of any (giant sequoia). Death is due to accidents, not, as that of animals, to the wearing out of organs. Only the leaves die of old age. Their fall is foretold in their structure; but the leaves are renewed every year, and so also are the essential organs wood, roots, bark, buds. Most of the Sierra trees die of disease, insects, fungi, etc., but nothing hurts the big tree. I never saw one that was sick or showed the slightest sign of decay. Barring accidents, it seems to be immortal. It is a curious fact that all the very old sequoias had lost their heads by lightning strokes. "All things come to him who waits." But of all living things, sequoia is perhaps the only one able to wait long enough to make sure of being struck by lightning."

Allegory of the Redwoods (not the same as the giant sequoia, according to Brendan, though some people get them mixed up -- the Redwood is "sequoia sempervirens" and the Giant Sequoia is "sequoia giganteum")

"But what may actually be more amazing than how big the redwoods are or how tall they stand is how long they stand and the fact that, despite their large, wind-catching limbs and their very shallow roots, they stand firm against the strongest storms and the wildest wind. Their secret is simple: Redwoods grow together in groves and intertwine their shallow roots. Thus, the roots of one tree in the grove are the roots of all the trees, interlaced underground and able to hold each tree upright no matter what kind of gale goes on above."


Love2Learn Mom said...

Fascinating stuff! Having grown up in California, I've always been fascinated by the great redwoods and sequoias (still don't know the difference exactly, just that there is one). I put up a link at Unity of Truth.

Love2Learn Mom said...

I just noticed that we have the same saints in the dedication of love2learn blog as your site. :)

WJFR said...

Love2learn mom, I think that might be a mild case of "imitation the sincerest form of flattery"? I didn't even know footers were possible until I saw the one on your site.... so I tried it on mine.... and wasn't conscious that I chose the same saints as you, but no doubt my subconscious was in the know.

I think the sequoias are fascinating too. The pic is one my second son took -- at Yosemite. Thanks for the link!

Mary G said...

Willa -- this is an awesome entry. Having grown up in SF and had MANY field trips to Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais, this brought back lovely memories of the sheer beauty of this area. I'd forgotten how fragile are the redwoods -- I love this image of growing together to help each other.

Very Cool!