If Trees Could Talk

Every time I drive up from the visitor center to the Giant Forest, I become amazed at the sequoias as if it were the first time. The trees have the ability to make one feel so small and insignificant, making one realize that life IS actually bigger than all of us. Sequoias are the world’s largest living being with General Sherman being the largest with a volume of 52,500 ft. To believe that such a big living being came from a seed that is about the size of a flake of oatmeal is a true example of a biological feat. Although the size of these giants is most definitely impressive, sequoias are also amongst the oldest trees on the planet. According to ring counts, the oldest known sequoia is about 3,500 years old. In all honesty, I find their long lifespan more impressive than their size. There are quite a couple of living organisms that reach incredible sizes such as the blue whale, but there aren’t many that can live dozens of centuries. Walking amongst the sequoias in the Giant Forest does no longer make me admire their size, but instead I wonder the type of stories they would tell if they could talk. Majority of these trees have been alive through various pivotal moments in human history. For instance, General Sherman is estimated to be between 2,300-2,700 years of age. When General Sherman was a tiny seed, Alexander the Great had died and Hellenistic Greece began. As Sherman grew, paper had been invented in China and the largest Mayan city flourished. Halfway through its lifetime, the Mongols conquered China, Russia, and Northern India. General Sherman continued to grow alongside the emergence of the Incan and Aztec empires in North America. And it was also alive when the Europeans colonized the Americas. If General Sherman could talk, it would tell us about the Mexican-American War and when California became part of the United States. It would also tell us about the legendary California Gold Rush and how that changed the Sierra Nevada. But most importantly, I think General Sherman and all of the other sequoias would tell us to keep taking care of their home.

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