Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Wild Trees: A story of passion and daring. By, Richard Preston.
A book, I plan on reading very soon.
I had the opportunity to listen to an NPR, Day to Day interview of Richard Preston, telling the story behind his book. It had to have been a truly amazing, life changing experience.
The author, who is afraid of heights, even took a tree climbing course to be able to visit the trees deep in the temperate rain forests of Northern California. These forests, that are five to ten times the biomass of the tropical rain forests. Rain forests that we forget are here in our little corner of the world.
I was spellbound by his quiet passion-filled voice, for that is what his expedition created, a passion for the world of the giant sequoias.
These giants, hiding out on our continent, are often 30 feet in diameter, and up to 35o feet high, it takes special climbing equipment, (called a spider rig), to reach the canopy. Trees of such height, the climbers are only able to communicate via hand held radios. The group of botanists studying these behemoths, are led by couple, Steve Sillett, and Marie Antoine. My imagination was sparked, and intrigued, as I listened to the author tell his story. I dream of seeing them, these land giants of our world, someday........but, somehow, I doubt I ever will, not in the way Richard Preston did.
His soft, compelling voice, described a 14 hour trek, covering only 2 miles, a dangerous hike, that also included some crawling, through thorn thickets, and piles of deadfall, (walls of wood that can be up to 30 feet tall), walls that a hiker must climb and crawl over during their travels, walls that can lead a not so careful hiker to their death. Thus, one, would have to be extremely physically fit to accomplish the task of just getting to the redwoods themselves. Much less, experiencing the canopy world.
A world filled with abundant life, a canopy of interlaced and fused branches, of fire caves burned into the trunks, or limbs with several meters of soil layered on them. Creating a canopy filled with plant and animal life, such as few living humans have ever seen. Ferns, insects, lichen, moss, and salamanders. Tree limbs with bushes and other small trees growing from them.
He described a world within a world, when elucidating on the tree canopy.
A world of mystery, and beauty. A fragile world, a world hidden from most of us.
A world that should stay that way.