Posted by: twotrees | August 2, 2009

Majestic Silence

sequoiaOf late I’ve been thinking on the luxury of quiet.  One of the joys of being in Ventura is that it is the most quiet place I’ve lived, to awaken.  Other than the occassional car, cow on the hill or pack of coyotes howling in the night, it’s still enough to hear yourself breathe.

A few weeks back, we took a trip up to the Sierra.  It’s my usual mode to get busy clearing brush at George & Dinny’s cabin lot, waiting for the local deer to meander by.  They seldom fail to deliver.  And when they do, I quietly talk to them.  They startle only when you stare at them or move too quickly. But they never reply.  Occassioanlly I wonder what life would be like without sounding out.  Seems impossible doesn’t it?

During the trip we revisit the Mariposa Grove, a collection of sequoia trees on the southside of Yosemite.  Within this stand of giants are trees up to 2,400 years old, weighing dozens of tons and have lived out their lives in complete silence.  In weather one hundred degrees or freezing cold, there they stand.  Through fires and droughts, driving winds or witness to their brothers being cut down, there they stand.

From the eighteen hundreds  to the middle of the last centry, these groves were occassionally timbered for what man thought was good reason.  Turns out the wood is brittle and not much use for building and such.

Now comes news that declining snowpacks in the Sierra may threaten these noble giants.  If you know about big trees, then you know that their intake of water is incredible – hundreds of gallons each day, which is in part exhaled into the atmosphere throught their leaves, along with oxygen.  It’s a shame to think that these trees, which sprouted their first roots in the time of the last great Egyptian pharaonic epoch and have survived numerous hardships during their several Millennia, may not be with us in a hundred years.

I wonder what they would say about that?

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