I AM A SEQUOIA (me!) and .. that Billy Collins again!Originally posted 08/09/2006 just read this today in one of my inspirational emails: coincidence is gods way of remaining anonymous (or something close to that) -zig
and i think this is kind of a cool coincidence: on a particularly challenging day last month, i got out my paper and pen to help me through. without thinking much about it, my pen wrote: i am a sequoia. - and it worked- but, strange thing is... i have no significant familiarity with sequoias. a tree is a tree is a tree to me. the only distinctions i usually make, are big tree, fat tree, apple tree... oh, that looks like a yoga tree, a naked tree, a laughing tree, -and i love them all, but found it strange that in this particular moment, on this particular day, i wrote so specifically: i am a sequoia.
-i'll have to look that up then- i thought to myself. learn a little somethin' about 'em.
then, a couple days later, while channel surfing, i landed on "hidden yosemite" on the travel channel EXACTLY AS THEY WERE DISCUSSING SEQUOIAS (i love when these things happen!) -but better still- dvr!! so i hit the record button fast as i could. and thank you once again and again and again to this fabulous technology... i got to play the segment over and over... listen again and again... and write it down. this is verbatim... but if this does not birth a fresh guppy for my fishtank; flush the toilet then!
.... but thousands of years of natures wrath hasn't disturbed the serenity of one of the most magical places in yosemite. the mariposa grove. home of the giant sequoias.
the giant sequoias are not the tallest trees on the face of the earth
they are not the oldest trees on the face of the earth
but these trees are the largest living thing that has ever existed on the planet earth
one reason sequoias grow so big is they don't grow old in the common sense of the word. whether 200 or 2000 years old, they retain their youthful vigor
the most popular sequoia, still standing in yosemite is this one: (oh, and you should have seen it! what a beauty!) they call it grizzly giant. named after the grizzlies that roamed the environment before they became endangered.
27 1/2 feet in diameter
estimated to be 1,790 years old!
this giant has "seen it all and survived it all"
this sequoia survived in excess of 100, perhaps as many as 1000 forest fires.
in fact, one day this tree was struck by lightning 3 times and the top actually caught on fire
and here's a secret...
the giant sequoia is dependent on fire. (!) when the cone is heated up it causes the seed to pop open and flip its seed out on the ground.
the second thing the fire does for the sequoia is that it burns all the litter and (duff?) on the ground so that when the seed pops out of the cone, it lands in a nice seed bed which acts as fertilizer to help that seed grow.
and if you're wondering why sequoias don't burn up with flames dancing on top of them
- we found out there's a reason for that as well-
sequoias aren't as flammable as other trees in the forest for several reasons
-their bark is quite soft, (and that's a good thing!) and surprisingly just doesn't catch on fire as readily as other trees in the forest, also
- most evergreen trees have a high level of turpines in them, a highly flammable resin that makes up part of their sap. sequoias, instead of having high levels of turpines, have high levels of water, so they're much less flamable (sip). -they seem to be immune to fire.
and the good park ranger went on to say
"my own personal secret of yosemite is that it's a magical place, and it was made magical, in part, by fire being an occasional visitor."
and then some info on "prescribed burns" which demands a poem of its very own.
but now.. thanks to billy collins... i cannot come up with any new metaphors/similies/analogies or crazy matching stuff without hearing his voice, and the echo of those hilarious (and by that i mean painfully true ) words from -the trouble with poetry-
.... the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.
and how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world.
and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks....