Redwood Down

Last week something died. It happened right across the street and I took pictures. One way of thinking of what happened is that one organism of one species was dismantled by several organisms of another, like what hyenas do to a gazelle and what slugs do to a lettuce plant. Another way to think of it is that somebody took out a tree. Either way, the way I think of it is that death happens, and it’s always just fine, no matter who does it, who it happens to, or why.

The first three pictures were taken from my balcony, 30 feet up. The last one is of ground zero.

A few hours before this picture was taken, the tall tree on the left looked a lot like the one on the right. (It’s a little tricky to see what’s going on here because behind the tree on the left (the one being cut down) is a third redwood tree that has had the top half cut off.)



Some fun facts about Coast Redwoods. In a Coast Redwood forest, it’s pretty much all redwood trees. They “compete” for sunlight by growing really tall. The tallest ones are 380 feet. And sometimes the lowest branches are way high. When they stand alone in a city, like the two trees in these pictures, there’s plenty of sun for everyone, so they top out at around 170 feet no matter how old or thick they get, and they have branches all the way up the trunk, giving them a Christmas tree look.

The next picture was taken right after the top came down. The guy tied the top part of the tree to his gondola, then he buzzed part way through the tree with his chainsaw, and he used the crane itself to tug on the tree until the top part split away and fell, but not to the ground. It remained suspended by the rope (as it is in this picture), and then it was lowered carefully to the ground.

If a tree falls in the neighborhood, does it make a sound? (Answer: yes.)

Next came the making of a stump.

I’m a treehugger. And a people hugger. Heck I’d be a slughugger if they had arms and weren’t slathered in slime. Years ago I would have thought there was “something wrong” with the scenes you just saw. Now I don’t see it that way. Now I see every death of every kind as the most inevitable occurrence there can be, and each death serves as a happy reminder as to why I’d best get my hugs in now.

1 Comment

  • Liz Posted July 17, 2008 9:42 am

    We discovered recently that a tree falling in the forest makes noise too; lots of noise, for about 2 hours in this case. We moved to a house in the forest last year. In the January storms this year, one of our trees got a split in the trunk and became more slanted than it had been, but was still fully alive. A few days ago, every 10-15 minutes I heard very loud cracking noises, like firecrackers. I eventually tracked the sound down to that tree, which was standing much less vertical than it had been. After a couple of hours of the cracking noises, it fell all the way over. It was a very tall bay tree, but fortunately fell accross a creek away from our house. The area smelled great afterwords (Bay!) This weekend we will have fun with a chainsaw 🙂

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