Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cathedral Of The Redwoods

Photograph by Kilroy_60

If walking among the redwoods was all I needed before punching my ticket I could go today without objection. I've lived a charmed life and spending time in the cathedral of the redwoods was extraordinary.

It was four months ago that I made that assertion. I was in Humboldt County, California on The Last Road Trip with The Master Baiter, looking for an appropriate place to spread the ashes of a friend who'd committed suicide a few weeks earlier.

There have been periods in my life when I've been actively engaged as a photographer and other times when I could take it or leave it.

When I left Black Squirrel Run to go to Al's memorial service taking a camera didn't enter my mind. I never considered shooting photographs to be a burden until The Last Road Trip. Some days I shot more, some days I shot less and some days it wasn't something I'd ever consider.

Typically, on anything that qualifies as a normal day in my life, I could have easily spent hours shooting photographs in the Cathedral of the Redwoods. That day in June I shot a total of five, one when we put the camera on a tripod and set a timer, enabling me to have a photograph taken with The Master Baiter among the redwoods.

Last week The Master Baiter surprised me with a book, The Wild Trees {A Story of Passion and Daring} by Richard Preston.

Richard Preston is a gifted story teller and The Wild Trees is a masterpiece.

While I'm enjoying the book, it's also reawakened feelings I experienced during The Last Road Trip which are anything but comfortable. It's been a good reminder why I've had such a difficult time writing what will serve as a conclusion to the Last Road Trip series.

A few excerpts from The Wild Trees...

"Every year, as spring begins, birds arrive in a forest only after the insects hatch, because, before then, there is nothing for the birds to eat. The connections run through both space and time. Steve became sensitive to the movement of time in a forest. Time has a different quality in a forest, a different kind of flow. Time moves in circles, and events are linked, even if it's not obvious that they are linked. Events in a forest occur with precision in the flow of tree time, like the motions of an endless dance."
{page 12}

"In its first twenty years of life, a coast redwood can grow from a seed into a tree that's fifty feet tall. In its next thousand years, it grows faster, adding mass at an accelerating rate. A redwood can go from a seed to a big tree in about six hundred years. Around age eight hundred, which is the end of its youth, it may reach its maximum height--its thirty-something-story height. Redwoods are extremely shade-tolerant. They can survived in dark places, at the bottom of a forest, in the deep shade of their elders, where few other trees would survive. A small redwood living in deep shade hardly grows at all, but it doesn't die; it goes into a kind of suspended animaton. If it is hit by light, it grows with relentless speed."
(page 20}

"What is left of the virgin redwood forest is like a few fragments of stained glass from a rose window in a cathedral after the rest of the window has been smashed and swept away."
{page 36}

{Read the Last Road Trip series}


michelle said...

thanks for your story, it made me feel peaceful.

Deb R said...

i enjoyed your blog so much..some of my best memories are those spent in the middle of the Redwoods..beautiful photo~

timethief said...

I live in the Canadian gulf islands. Yes, I'm a tree hugger, an environmentalist and a political activist. ;)

Thanks for sharing the excerpts from the book. I've now placed it on my inter-library loan list for winter reading. :)