We think that trees are stationary. Still. Unless they’re one of Tolkien’s Middle Earth Ents, trees stay put, rooted in one place. We grow up climbing branches in trees that don’t speak or walk. They stand suspended in time and place but the truth is they move – a lot.
On a recent road trip through the Pacific Northwest to Redwood National Park, I watched tall, skinny cedars swinging their tops. Their limbs waved, caught by unseen breath. Along the highway stood chorus lines of pine. Their branches waved in updraft currents from speeding cars.
We drove through a giant redwood tree. The Chandelier Tree is a tourist attraction and had a line of cars waiting to pass through. After the drive and obligatory picture I looked up and up and up.
Topped with ruffles of green, the immense tree seemed none the worse for hosting a hole in its belly. It’s top hat of green rippled in the sunlight, shaken by a wind we couldn’t feel far below on the ground.
Driving into Redwood National Park, the redwoods were stunning in the afternoon sun. Young saplings grow quickly to their first 100 feet and then slow. Burls, bulging knotted lumps, harbor seeds that only activate when the tree is stressed or in danger.
In Redwood National Park there’s a meandering trail through Lady Bird Johnson Grove. The former first lady and President Richard Nixon dedicated the area in 1969:
“One of my most unforgettable memories of the past year is walking through the Redwoods…seeing the lovely shafts of light filtering through the trees so far above, feeling the majesty and silence of that forest and watching a salmon rise in one of those swift streams…all our problems seemed to fall into perspective and I think every one of us walked out more serene and happier.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson
Stopping on the trail and looking up into the treetops it’s easy to see Redwoods leaning and swaying as if to the whispers of unheard melodies. Those trees are some of the oldest creatures on earth and just might have lessons for the rest of us: Keep your roots strong but dance when you can.I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please share!