Saturday, May 01, 2004

The Way Things Are

I have this constant preoccupation with the way things are. Not just the way they are made, and the way they have become, and the way they become, and the way that they were, but most importantly, the way they are.

For whatever reason.

In particular there is the way things are when they are that way having been made so by the Hand of God.

I am preoccupied with the way Everything Is. Because Everything Is some way, and a great deal of what everything is hasn't even been discovered yet.

A good deal of what Is has been published to the internet, and I think that's a good thing. But there are some things that Are and haven't been published suitably to the internet.

My preoccupation has nothing to do with the way things are made, in the sense of: what will you find when you rip the thing apart?

I happen to be a plant lover, and I find one of the most disappointing aspects of the science of botany is the fact that everything is analyzed by dissection. You don't really know What a thing is until you have taken it appart. But, in my thinking, once you have taken it apart it is no longer to be appreciated.

How would my wife like it if I brough her a dissected rose for Mother's day? Or my Mom for that matter.

So, there are some things about the way things are that ruin the way they should be.

Anyway, as a plant lover, I have long lamented that there are not suitable reference guides on the internet to determining the exactness of a plant. Take for example Western Hemlock or Mountain Hemlock. If you were to do a web search for both of these trees, you would end up with all sorts of photographs, some of them looking more like Blue Spruce, and others looking more like Larches, and some of them looking a great deal like the Cedar of Lebanon. But none of these so-called scientists who put together tree identification web sites, give you more than a single picture or two, to use in helping you ascertain the identity of a tree.

Well, I have about five or six plant-identifying books at home, and I still go looking on the internet from time to time for better pictures.

So, it has been a while since I've posted some pictures, and here are some I think shall be informative. These are pictures of The Way Things Are in the first three years in the life of a couple very special trees we have in the Pacific Northwest:

The Douglas Fir
The Black Cottonwood

These two are probably the most common trees in the Pacific Northwest, although the Vine Maple may tag along as a close third...

But how are these things?

Well, here is a Douglas Fir in the very first spring that it comes up from seed:

They are cute little enchanting things. They burst out of the ground like a star: always with six points.

Here's another one:

Well, here's what one of those same Douglas Firs looks like in the spring of it's second year on this earth:

Here is another tree the same age:

These little treelettes are aproximately 4 to 5 inches tall in their second spring. They can be much larger in their second spring, but this is about average.

Now here is a Douglas Fir for you in it's third spring. This one is about 10 to 12 inches tall:

Let us move on to our beloved friend the Black Cottonwood.

As you may be aware, the Black Cottonwood is a very aggressive tree. Typically, there is an order to how these trees appear.

The order goes something like this:

a) a forest fire sweeps clean a stretch of forest - or better still a glacier rushes down a mountainside clearing a track of forest.

b) now you have a field

c) Black Cottonwoods and Red Alders (and numerous other fast growing deciduous trees) start growing and build up a forest again.

d) These trees grow up quickly, shed a lot of leaves, fall down frequently in storms, and so on.

In so doing, they rapidly nurture the soil so that it is ready to sustain a broader diversity of trees - primarily your evergreens will slowly grow up and take over the land they have prepared (never completely wiping them out). So then you get your Ponderosa Pines, your Douglas and Grand Firs, your Larches, your Hemlocks, your Cedars (red and yellow).

Because they have the deciduous trees preparing a nice rich soil for them for years ahead of time, the evergreens don't need to grow quickly. God made them so they grow slowly, and it all works out harmoniously.

Here is your Black Cottonwood in its very first spring of life:

Here is another newborn of the same:

I didn't think of this last year... (I've only allowed ONE of these creatures to survive on my property, and I took the picture above before I pruned out all the newborns) ... so the bottom line is, I don't have a picture of this guy in his second year. But, I will tell you, he was about 18 to 20 inches tall in his second spring.

Now, here he is in his third spring (at the very START of his third spring on this earth):

As you can see (that is the back of my "barn" there) he is at least 15 feet tall.

15 feet in three years isn't too bad, eh?

I have some friends that swear a broadleaf maple will grow that fast, but I've got a broadleaf maple in my yard too. He is in his third year of life and he's only about 30 inches tall.

There is probably nothing that grows as fast as the Red Alder or the Black Cottonwood.

Well, enough tree talk for the day!

~ Basil-Tree the Ent.