The Big Tree

I had an errand to run in Port Alberni yesterday, and on the way back I stopped at Cathedral Grove to see The Big Tree. I’d missed it the last time I was there with Jamjarjude — it was in another part of the grove and we didn’t have time to trek there. But this time, I was on a mission.

But, of course, once you walk into Cathedral Grove, with its centuries-old redwoods, your pace is slowed and your mouth drops open. Because all you can do is look up.

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The grove goes on for miles, but only a small portion of it is accessible. The paths are covered with moss, which drapes from branches like swags of green velvet.

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The grove is so quiet… you tend to find yourself whispering. It is a place of awe.

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Then the quiet is broken by the murmurings of a brook, and, for a moment, I bring my eyes back to earth, to reconnect.

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I pass a lightning tree – a giant which has been immolated by a blast of lightning from a sky god…

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…just the one tree, in the middle of the forest, all its neighbours untouched.

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Then, it is there. The Big Tree. A Douglas fir eight hundred years old. Already 300 years old when Columbus set foot on the New World. Born at the end of the 12th century, when Richard The Lion-Heart was on the throne of England, and Genghis Khan’s armies overran Asia. Still alive. A connection to all that has lived since it’s birth.

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Seventy-six metres tall, nine metres round, taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And still growing. It has another two hundred years to go before it starts its decline.

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And I touched it of course.


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