Redwoods are Stupid

We look at the mighty redwoods and we get all awestruck and we think majestically about wow, looky there. That’s a really big tree. And straight. At least I do, that is, I used to, before I realized how stupid redwoods are.

Let’s say you were a member of a species, and you basically ruled your world. Anywhere you went, you were the bad-ass. You controlled the resources, and no other species posed a threat to your species.

But no… that wasn’t good enough. You, as in you and you and you and you, the individuals, wanted more, more, more, more. Always more, always better, always … higher. So instead of kicking back and living a life of leisure as a species, there arose non-stop infighting, for the sake of having more than the next guy. More what? We could metaphorically call it: sunlight. But the tragedy is that there is plenty of sunlight to go around. You silly, silly, redwood trees. As soon as you got to 200 feet tall, you ruled the skies. You dominated wherever you went. You had your own ecosystem and it worked. But you were so used to competing against other species that you fought on, against each other. And now many of you are 300 feet tall. Some as tall as 380.

Think of all the additional resources it takes to make and maintain a 380 foot tall tree compared to a 200 foot tall tree.

Don’t worry, redwoods. I’ll still come camping and I will always be awestruck by you because let’s face it, you’re awesome. Even if you ain’t so bright.



  • jude Posted July 13, 2009 6:56 am

    Not being a redwood, you don’t exactly what sorta meditative state (or community) they achieved at 200, what has happened since, or what it feels like to provide for the ecosystems that occur at that unique altitude. If you’re gonna go all anthropomorphic on a tree, better hang out up there for a moment or two before you turn it into a cartoon…

  • admin Posted July 13, 2009 10:47 am
  • Tiffany Posted July 13, 2009 6:46 pm

    Nice metaphore, my Cuz. I got it in spades.
    Thanks for reminding me that the big strong badasses have the ability to suck up all of the resources they want. Without really having any bad intent. If that ain’t evolution, I don’t know what is.

    Drake Levin – wish i’d have known him. You portrayed him as a valuable friend, and I believed ya.

    I am sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with you and Kathleen really talking at Conneaut. Kids and husbands will do that sometimes. I hope to see you soon.

  • john Posted July 17, 2009 9:25 am

    I don’t know Tommy if I would agree with what I believe your point really is. That big is bad?

    I’d say in this case, big is bad ass -the Semperviren’s can live for 2,000 years or more and as far as we earthlings know, are the second oldest living things on earth.
    If “success” is the measurement of success, the Big model seems to work nicely for old Reddy.

    Their their children are a patient lot too; waiting in the understory for hundreds of years for one of the old folks to blow over and let the sunshine in!

    And, unless something really bad happens along the way, once they reach a certain size, being blown down seems to be the only thing that kills them – besides humans of course….

  • M. D. Vaden of Oregon Posted July 20, 2009 12:17 am

    The redwoods hold a lot of epiphytic growth on them. They protect plants that need shade. So other plants depend on them.

    Basically, they are like the rich people in our country who pay 50% of their income in taxes, to support many others.

    The big covering for the small.


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