Big Trees (a poem for D)

Big Trees (a poem for D)

Big Trees State Park in Northern California is a grove of Giant Sequoias and it’s accompanying forest (a type of tree that grows nowhere else in the world except the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains). This grove of trees were only ten minutes from the house where I grew up, and is really close to where my parents got married. Here’s a collection of photos and a poem from a walk my mom, my wife Emi and I took. Click play on the audio banner below and scroll through the photos and read the poem at the bottom of the page, and leave a comment with your reactions below. Enjoy the summer light :)

Big Trees (a poem for D)

I think I know you know so well
because you were there I was born.
Because my parents were married beneath you
because I walked to you and through you for so long

and because I love you, even when I’m far away

but how could I know you though?
when my whole life, is just a day in yours

You, who saw the birth of
civilizations and cities,
the invention and spread of agriculture,
the bronze age and the modern age

You, who watched written language come into being
cuneiform, hieroglyphs, and petroglyphs 

You, who watched pyramids constructed
the rise of Greece, the fall of Rome
the circle of Stonehenge

You watched pottery develop in Mexico
and you cared for own people, the Miwok
communing with them daily 
as they used grinding stones at your base
and followed the tracks of animals 
through the snow below you

You have seen so many births and deaths
so many wild fires and so many blizzards
floods and storms of all sorts have shaken
your branches but you have remained

Perhaps your ancient creativity and tenacious long life
made you think to only allow your seeds
to come out of their cones in a forest fire,
the heat cracking them open
the ash enriched soil 
offering the potential for a new tree

How wise of you to create new life from flames

But are you scared of death,
the way that we humans are?
Perhaps that’s why 
you’ve learned to live forever?
Because you’re scared of death?

Are you scared of death like me, great tree?

Perhaps, even though you’re ancient 
and have known time out of time
and have seen civilizations rise and fall,
you have come to see that, a life is a life
no matter how short or how long?
and should be valued regardless 
of size or scale

May you season every storm and fire,
long after my body is gone, dear friend

Even if I only know you
for these few short years,
They have enlivened my own,
to know you as I have,
if only from the very bottom of your trunk.

Perhaps, I could come back as 
a squirrel to climb your branches,
or a hawk to perch upon your uppermost limbs

Perhaps, one day I could even come back
as a seed in one of your fire scorched cones,
to watch for a blaze to begin my life

Ancient, yet new
Wise yet possibly afraid
Set apart from me,
yet perhaps not so different from me

Do you know any other stories of really large or old plants or animals?! Do you have a favorite tree? Comment below with your story. Or send me a message about it with any links, photos or stories at

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