Silver mist rises from the Sierra foothills,
rolling over the golden grass and through
graceful oaks. Far above, storm clouds
blanket the highlands, quietly showering
snow on the monumental sculpture of Sierra
At the mountains' halfway point, mist
rises through falling snow. Swirling
past pines and firs, the mist rises
toward the clouds, rising higher and
higher until it lifts off the ridges,
slipping through the crowns of the
tallest trees of the Sierra forest.
These big trees - last to
feel the rising mist,
first to catch the snow -
are the giant sequoias,
largest beings on Earth.
Today when we stand
before the General
Sherman Tree in Sequoia
National Park, we stand
before the most massive
living organism on our
planet, the individual
with the largest number
of cells interconnectd in
a single, discrete whole.
And with each passing
year this great chunk of
Life produces new cells
by the millions.
Stands of lesser conifers often blur
into monotony, but each giant sequoia
retains its individuality. Scarred by
fire endured a thousand years ago,
garnished with moss and lichen like
barnacles on the back of a whale,
each big tree is unique.
In their character and
rarity, no other living
thing compares with
them. Their story is
far from esoteric
science, but rather the
testament of Life's
the survival methods of
the world's greatest
|Text by Stephen Trimble
Photos by me!
Indeed, what impresses us on a walk under
the giant sequoias is their vitality. These
trees destroy the passive image we have of
plants; the simple word "tree" cannot
convey their authority cannot communicate
their dignified bulk.