Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Celebration Of Redwoods

The Wild Trees by Richard Preston.

It typically doesn't take me two months to read a book, certainly not one of about 300 pages.

As it is I've been reading The Wild Trees for about seven weeks, as this is a book to be savored, and I have another 40 pages to go.

The Master Baiter showed great kindness in surprising me with this gift, I'm very appreciative.

More than anything it's a great way to remember our time in the Cathedral of the Redwoods.

I've never run three sets of excerpts from a book before. If you haven't seen the previous installments I'd advise you to check out...Peruse these excerpts and, I expect, you'll understand why I've added The Wild Trees to the Favorite Books list which appears in my profile....

--(-)-> The coast redwood is a so-called relic species. It is a tiny remnant population of a life form that once spread in splendor and power across the face of nature. The redwood has settled down in California to live near the sea, the way many retired paper do."
{page 218}

--(-)-> Altenhoff thought that this tree had Aristotelian drive. It had been striving possibly since the time of Aristotle to become what it was. It was a living thing in a state of flux, forever becoming what it must become. Trees are unconscious, self-directed life forms, driven into their elaborate shapes by the programming in their genetic code, and by their response to sunlight, wind, water, accidents, fire, insects, and disease. The Humboldt Tree seemed overwhelmingly alive as it crowded upward into the air, seeking to drive its form into space and move toward the light, to cast its shadow over lesser trees and take their light from them and to throw its seeds into the world, and so make itself immortal."
{page 122}

--(-)-> The date of Taylor and Sillett's discovery of the Grove of Titans---May 11, 1998---is known to some botanists as the Day of Discovery."
{page 176}

--(-)-> They thought they had made a fine discovery, but the discovery had just begun. When they walked past the twin titans they emerged into a grassy glade. Patches of open sky were visible, and pools of water shimmered. Around the edges of the glade stood a ring-shaped colonnade of undiscovered redwood titans---trees of enormous size in terms of mass. They are, collectively, the largest redwood trees on earth. The grove exists at the bottom of a hidden, notchlike valley deep in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It was previously undiscovered."
{page 174}

--(-)-> Later, Sillett and a graduate student, James Spickler, made the first climb of the Stratosphere Giant. They measured it and confirmed that it was the tallest tree. The Stratosphere Giant was growing by two to five inches a year. In 2005, it passed 370 feet, with no sign of stopping. It is thought to be roughly two thousand years old."
{page 190}

--(-)-> A redwood tree is both male and female---it produces sperm cells and egg cells. The sperm cells are contained inside grains of pollen. A redwood releases its pollen into the air from tiny male cones, called strobili, which appear on the tips of branchlets. (Branchlets are the smallest branches, and they have needles on them.) Redwoods spew pollen from their male cones on sunny days in winter and early spring. One day in January, Marie Antoine was climbing in the Grove of Titans, near the top of the redwood named Sacajawea, and the tree began to feel spring in the air and threw off so much pollen taht she began choking and coughing. The air was yellow from the tree's pollen. "Despite it's name, Sacajawea seems to be more male than female," Antoine said."
{pages 214-215}

--(-)-> Steve Sillett couldn't get the Dyerville Giant out of his mind: that pancake of roots tipped up into the air, that crater forty feet across. He was also conscious of the fact there were very few standing dead redwoods anywhere in the groves. No rotting skeletons of redwoods standing upright. The floor of the redwood forest was a maze of fallen trunks. Now, in Telperion, the meaning of it became very clear: redwoods fall while they're still alive."
{page 129}


ghostwriter said...

Living on the east coast, I have never had the chance to see these giants. They seen larger than life, quite literally.

michelle said...

i can see why you are savoring this book may have to read it myself