Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Trees

The trees are the keepers of the earth. I often wonder how they communicate with each other, for I know they do, but how? I spent my week this past week again very much in the presence of the trees. It is bare root season and the time of year for transplanting. In my new yard, so vacant, so open, so lacking in trees, it’s difficult to pass up the opportunity to populate the land with trees. Buying bare root is inexpensive. The ground is soaked and cuts like butter. I sound like a gardening brochure.

I actually didn’t plant that many trees. I just got a forest’s worth of pleasure out of the few I planted. I have always wanted to have a gingko in my yard. Now I have one. When I was growing up in Schenectady, I often visited the Jackson Gardens at Union College. A centerpiece of the garden was a giant gingko tree. Visiting children, such as myself, were allowed to climb into it. The main branches of the enormous trunk wrapped around each other to create a cradle low to the ground, easy for children to mount. I often climbed into that tree and sat, gazing out at the gardens, pretending I was the queen of the domain. By the time the little gingko in my yard would be as big as the one in Jackson Gardens I will have turned to ash long ago. But I like to imagine it will still be here, in this yard, for some future children to climb.

On Friday, Ron and I had the opportunity to visit a grove of splendid coastal trees. We drove down to Mount Tamalpais where our friends Jerry and Alexis are staying at a magnificent cabin overlooking the ocean. Jerry and Alexis retired in the fall, after selling their store, Afikomen, in Berkeley, and they are doing a six-month stint as the caretakers/hosts of the Steep Ravine State Campsite in Mount Tamalpais State Park. They care for ten cabins and some campsites on the edge of the world. They took us on a walk in the forest across the road from the rocky coastline that is temporarily their home. We stepped softly among the large coastal trees, including many Redwoods, some hundreds of years old. We walked a path that led to a small waterfall that fed into a brook that tumbled over rocks under a fallen Redwood that formed a bridge over the water. From the fallen Redwood grew a half a dozen live Redwoods, all growing up straight from the fallen tree. Some grew out of the fallen tree where it lay above the water. The fallen tree was perhaps two or three hundred years old and some of those growing from it easily more than one hundred.

We paused by this splendid cluster of trees for quite a time. I remain awed by the resilience of these creatures. This fallen Redwood persevered and fostered these many other trees, straight from it’s trunk, even though downed and beyond repair. What spectacular beauty this tree wrested from the heart of a long-ago disaster.

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