Thursday, September 3, 2009

TC: Tree Talk


File:Trees and sunshine.JPG

Tree talk is the party line of the intelligent listening forest
Whether the smooth voiceless no breeze whisper rustling
Inside green upper tiers of a fogbound blue spruce
Or the deep aether growth song stirring
Down in each tender quiet working sub-earth redwood shoot

Sunlight shining through redwoods in Muir Woods: photo by Rich S5812, 2007

Family ring: ring of coast redwoods (sequoia sempevirens) sprouting from stump of older tree: photo by Edward Z. Yang, 2005


xileinparadise said...

"Amazing creatures, I was delighted
to visit them, to watch them,
languid waving those green feather scale fronds
they aren't too far from being ferns"

PW from Giant Sequoias

TC said...


Creatures they are, PW had that right. These past few epochs we've been sharing their living shadow, here in the urban forest, with various other urban marginal outcast creatures. For your green hours, here are some other tall tales about them.

Inside the Redwood

Message in the Forest


xileinparadise said...

Stand at the base and observe their twist into the bright Mediterranean sky, a subtle vise that turns with the rotation of the planet, the stars in the spiral galaxies. They are, as PW notes, like giant prehistoric ferns. Step into a grove of virgins and enter a magical realm. There’s one over the hill from me but unfortunately in the sanctum of Bohemians and under guard, and not by Ewoks.

TC said...


We have two giants outfront, won, as the story goes, as potted plants by two old ladies at the 1906 World's Fair. They are tall and deep (root structure equal in circumference to the tree height -- those huge thirsty roots with which I am infinitely familiar, having dug down to them repeatedly as they repeatedly inveigled their way into the old iron pipe joins, and then into the pipes themselves, in search of water.)

They are home to many squirrels and to itinerant families of raccoons, which descend nightly to consume the bread we leave out ... and to scrap and tumble and deposit hard black pods of fecal matter on the rotted sedimentary tarp layers representing what remains of our roof (to them it may as well be Palm Beach, they are used to modest accommodations and indeed rarely survive more than a year or two in these densely populated urban environs, though "in the wild" their life expectancy would be twenty-two, twenty-three years...).

For the coons, redwoods==home, and a lot better at that than the storm drains which are their sole alternative refuge. To an anxious raccoon, a tall redwood with its many capacious branch-tiers is a multi-storey luxury hotel, with free rooms.

xileinparadise said...

Tom -- It always surprises me when I see the stately red pillars in urban neighborhoods such as yours. Here in paradise, the alluvial plain upon which our wood tents are pitched was once a redwood glade, according to the old timers, logged long ago, and shipped down the Russian to a waiting steamer that would take the timber to Berkeley! And many years back when I had my little neighborhood yard clean-up business, I had to clear a blackberry/poison oak thicket from the remnants of a giant, the stump easily ten feet across -- I had to use a step ladder just to climb on top. The surface was too pitted and rotted to count the rings but you can imagine that it was an ancient fellow. Also, now that the walnuts are starting to drop, the masked furballs are making my yard a stop on their nocturnal migration from the river to the hillside where they have their leafy condos among the madrone, pin oak, fir and laurel. It most certainly is critter city in this neck of the woods, what with the deer sauntering down the middle of the road in the evening, gazing voraciously at the neighbor’s penned garden, the banded tailed wild pigeons hanging out on the phone wires, the jays, both scrub and stellar, squawking and squabbling, the fat berry-fed quail roosting in the bramble banks, the moon winged acorn woodpeckers, true aristocrats in their tidy little tuxedos, and of course the ubiquitous turkey vultures circling overhead, which, whenever I see them can’t help but have a thought for Lew Welch. All of this I’m certain is familiar to you from your stay on the mesa.

With your indulgence, since this is “tree talk” after all, the tail end of recent work:

regard the sage pine redwood and fir
crowd the hillside in solemn council
they know without thinking about it

And another from PW:

A few pine trees in sunshine
The complete works of Maurice Ravel.

TC said...


Now I know what you mean by "paradise".