Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Redwood Tree

 There was a small cone from an evergreen tree.  It would have been as small and round as a maybe, except that marbles would not be invented for many hundreds of years yet.
 The cone hung from a thin, flat branch whose needles would have looked like the strands of a feather but no animal had yet produced a feather.
 A hard, strong wind, like many before it, whipped the little cone's branch.  This time it was drier and browner than during those past wind storms.

This time the little branch, with the cone at its tip, tore loose from the tree and rode the wind until it came to rest on a bed of ferns and rich soil.  The little cone snagged in a fruit tree and then dropped to the ground and lay where it fell and slowly was buried beneath other branches and tree bark and dirt.  It lay there as many rains came and quenched its dryness

 It lay there until it felt itself bursting apart with the new life of the tiny sprout which pushed up and out and reached for the sun which only reached back to it because the tree which had sprouted there before had been removed by a roaring fire.

The sprout grew and grew and seasons came and went.  It reached up so high into the air that it towered over the grey snag of its parent tree and the green newness of its siblings growing from the burl wood of the parent's enormous base.
It reached so high that it needed to drink from low lying clouds, with the help of the fungus on its bark and it drank up nearly 500 gallons of water each day.

It lived so long that feathered animals appeared and began to nest in its branches.  It survived heat and cold when many of its type perished in ice age or draught.  It survived a fire which roared into its heart and left a big black cave which for awhile was a den to a family of mountain lions.
 Then the wind tore its roots from the ground and it fell.  It crashed to the ground in many shattered lengths and lay there a long time

but then it felt its burls bursting with new life and sprouting and reaching for the sun.  Around the shattered stump it grew into four, strong, proud trees which stretched up high and drew strength from the fallen trunk even as it melted back into the earth and fed the insects and ferns and bitter sorrel.

The four trees stood with their roots forming snaking tunnels where opossums nested for awhile and Tolowa babies sheltered while their parents gathered juicy blackberries or pulled fat salmon from the river.  

One tree fell and became a plank house and one was cut and became a dug out canoe
 One stopped growing and dried into a snag where owls and woodpeckers lived.  The fourth became a hollow shell and for awhile it seemed as if the little cone's life force was no more.

 But around the stump of the one which rode the sea waves, little sprouts began to burst with life until they had to push up and out and reach for the sun.

 As they grew, a baby was born in Bethlehem and a strange man set foot on a continent that was new to him.  Men walked, then rode, then flew and the stump melted back into the soil.

 Men stood on the moon and looking back at their world, saw not counties, but a tiny round marble, shared by many living things.

 And in the cathedral of redwood trees, an ant crawled, a banana slug slid, a raccoon ran and a child stood, head thrown back in wonder, as its soul stretched up and up and reached for the sun.


  1. Awesome, Dixie, as is everything you do. Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs - Betty Dravis

  2. This was fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us/