Reflections from a few of the most emotional, beautiful and obscure places in the world. Thoughts from the World is an occasional series of posts from Roger about travelling for inspiration.
Feeling like a Victorian plant hunter, I follow the instructions: Park there, walk for 200 yards, take the first trail on the left, look for the fallen giant, head through the gap cut in the trunk, go forward and you’ll see it.
Now I sit at this top-secret location looking at the fourth tallest tree in the world. Until three even taller Coast Redwood trees were discovered a few miles north, it used to be the highest.
A massive trunk ascends into the tree canopy. The top at 371.1 feet so high it’s impossible to see.
Amongst such an incredible natural sight, often the best word to ask is How? How does a tree grow this tall? How does it create all this wood and bark out of thin air and water? How, despite all the storms and earthquakes, does it survive for 2000 years?
At school we are taught about chemical reactions and in particularly photosynthesis; sunlight, water and carbon dioxide creating organic compounds and oxygen. But here in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park it seems incredible that such scale and might results from millions and millions of tiny molecular interactions.
No wonder forestry experts such as Peter Wohlleben in his best selling book The Hidden Life of Trees speculate that trees have a sixth-sense. They sense danger, they feel pain, they look out for each other.
In this Californian forest, whilst our world has been transformed, the so-called Stratosphere Giant has reached for the sky; silently, unobserved, unfazed. One sunbeam at a time. One sea mist at a time. One intake of carbon dioxide at a time.
95% of these magnificent Coast Redwoods are gone; destroyed in a logger’s orgy of destruction. This tree survived axes and chain saws and never became a robber-baron’s home in San Francisco.
A Thought from the World
“Whatever the world throws at you, stand tall. Reach for the sun and lift yourself off the ground.”
Three things we might want to do
Plant a Redwood. You can buy self-planting kits online.
Go for a forest walk and hug at least three trees
Stretch up to the ceiling ten times every morning