Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reflections on an old soul …

This is a small wetland in southern Alberta on a recent beautiful day. Trees have always fascinated me, and while I have no idea how old this particular tree is, in general trees have a lifespan that really has no relation to us mere mortals. Even though these trees look fairly 'young' in the terms of a tree, young can still mean 50 or 100 years old. Even a 200 year old tree isn't 'old' in tree terms.

And that's one of the aspects of treeness that has always fascinated me. Some of the oldest trees on record are truly staggering in ages. There are two pine trees in Alberta that are well over 1000 years old, living creatures who first began life here before the 11th century.

But even a millenium isn't "old" for a tree. The oldest on record are over 4000 years old, and there are many that are 2000 or 3000 years old. I know trees aren't sentient beings, so people don't generally think of them as 'creatures' as such, but they are living things that have stood watch over the rise and fall of entire civilisations. Its little wonder, to me, that human history is full of folk stories about forests and trees.

Ultimately I find it humbling when you put some of these ages into context. There's a bristlecone pine in Methusela CA that was a healthy tree when Abraham walked the middle east, and there are several giant sequoias nearby that were saplings as Moses freed the slaves from Egypt. By the time Buddha, or Jesus came to earth, these were already ancient creatures towering over California.

As humans, we tend to think that time is measured in minutes, and hours and days. When we think long term, we think in terms of months, or years, or maybe even decades. But its always worth remembering that there are creatures around who were here long before we were, and will out live us by many times, creatures who measure their lives not in years or even centuries, but in millenia. For me, anyway, its always worth acknowledging that not all of life, or the universe, operates on a human scale.


At 6:22 p.m., Blogger Anitsirhc said...

OMG..this was such a cool!


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