Nephew Mark, visiting from Indiana, has never seen the redwoods. We drive three hours south to Crescent City, consult the experts, and find our way to a nearby grove for a drive then a stroll among the giants. The coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) stand tall, some of them young and slim, some older and thick about the waist like their human counterparts. A few lie prone, uprooted by wind and weakness. The sheer perpendicularity of the standees transfixes us. They do not lean.
They are among the tallest and oldest life forms on earth. Their beauty, strength, size and posture inspires.
A volunteer appears and tells us that the roots of the coastal redwoods are unusual, growing only about six feet down into the earth. It is the trees’ lateral roots that are its strength, extending as far as 100 feet, meeting, then co-mingling, entwining with the roots of its fellows to form a network which supports each tree as pushes its way aloft, enabling all to reach far and straight into the heavens. These trees cooperate instead of compete, to the benefit of all. What a wonderful example for us.
We would do well to visit the coastal redwoods, to admire and learn from them.