I tumbled out of the car, a heap of happiness … I was here at last, gazing at trees that have been around a few thousand years … imagining what they had seen, wondering what they have known …
True, there are scientific aspects of the Redwoods that crossed my mind – shape of leaves, leader length, bark, wondering how the xylem and phloem work when chunks of the tree are missing, pioneer trees, the whorl of stems, self-pruning, microclimate, carbon storage, nitrogen fixation and the ecosystems that these trees support. And I discussed these with my husband, Balu and my brother Naveed. We Googled things we were uncertain about (eg. How much carbon does one Redwood tree store?) and we were mesmerized by others (eg. How does the tree continue to grow and flourish even when a large piece of it is missing as in the case of the Chandelier Tree?).
As the infant forester tickled my brain cells, spotty cell phone service and the very vivid human in me took over. I decided to let the stateliness of these trees wash over me. Here I was, walking in the valley of giants. I am not religious by any stretch of imagination but it is poetic that one has to raise one’s eyes to the skies to see these trees as they reach out to the heavens. It is extremely humbling to look down and feel like a mere speck on a timeline. And it is supremely shameful that we – homo sapiens – having evolved so late can destroy these majestic creatures with a whirring blade.
I can imagine how Wordsworth felt when he saw those Daffodils. In a similar spirit I “gazed and gazed” and perhaps one day it will dawn on me what “wealth” these trees "to me have brought." For now I relish the fact that I got to touch and see a Giant.