Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Wonder of Cathedral Pines

On the second day of my two-day hiking trip, I journeyed to northwest Connecticut to hike Mohawk Mountain. My hike started in the Cathedral Pines Nature Conservancy. This was once the premier stand of white pines in New England. However, a rare Connecticut tornado blew down most of these majestic trees in 1989. There are still a few acres of these giants of the evergreen world. The photo on the right is from the Nature Conservancy website.

While hiking among these huge evergreens, I felt as if I were in an ancient forest. The oldest of these trees are up to 300 years old-- older than the U.S.! I half expected to run into Treebeard (the tree shepherd from Lord of the Rings).

I stopped several times and stared up in awe at the tops of these wonders of nature that can reach a height of 150 feet. It reminded me of visiting Muir Woods several years ago, even though the Redwoods there are much taller and older. The oldest living trees are reportedly Bristlecone Pines, the oldest of which is called Methuselah and is over 4,600 years of age.

It's good to be reminded that there are living things much older than we are. I find this both reassuring and humbling. The reassuring part is that life predates me and will outlive me. It's comforting to know that life continues. The humbling part of seeing ancient things is the reminder that we're not the center of the universe. The creation is so much older, larger and grander than we are. We're part of its grandeur, but not the whole of it.

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