Monday, June 19, 2006


One of the highlights of my visit to Sequoia and King's Canyon National Park was of course, Sequoiadendron giganteum, the Giant Sequoia. Some of the trees are believed to be 3500 years old. They are not known to die of old age. They have columnlike trunks, stout branches and fibrous, reddish bark. The tallest are up to 310 feet tall, and the fattest 40 feet in diameter. They are the largest living things. At one time sequoia species were more common around the world. The Petrified Forest in Arizona consists mainly of extinct sequoia trees. A citizen who lives on private land inside the park gave me a sequoia cone with seeds in it. (It is illegal to collect any material from a national park.) I plan to try to sprout them and maybe they will find their way to an appropriate niche on a mountain nearby. Wouldn't it be marvelous if 200 years from now, someone "discovered" a Giant Sequoia grove in eastern Arizona?

The trees are thrilling to see. As big as they are, they seemed to hide amid their pine and fir neighbors. At this time of year the Pacific dogwood is in bloom in the forests. Their large white blossoms were startling in themselves, but when viewed next to the red trunk of a sequoia, they were magical.

There aren't many sequoia left in the world. These in California are the only ones in the New World. Imagine if they had a consciousness and stand witnessing the host of human encounters with them after they stood so long in obscurity. Do they know we have changed from looking at them as number of board feet, to some kind of arbor royalty? Are we puny things, unimportant in the passing of centuries? I'd like to think so, for their sake.

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