My life it seems is blessed with serendipity. Just a few hours after writing “A Tree Moves No Longer” I saw a momentary mention of the world’s oldest living thing on the History Channel. It was in a program about the physics and perception of time. I immediately googled the tree by name and found this major site among hundreds of others: http://sonic.net/bristlecone/
The serendipity event occurred on one of the site’s pages.
“The end of the field season was nearing. They asked for and were granted permission by the U.S. Forest Service to cut the tree down. It was ‘Prometheus’. After cutting the trunk at a convenient level, which happened to be more than eight feet above the original base, 4,844 rings were counted. This student had just killed the oldest living thing on earth!”
Where was his reverence for life? Why did the Forest Service permit such a destructive act?
My mind wandered to a 40-year-old movie, Soylent Green, starring Edmund G. Robinson and Charlton Heston which was perhaps the first film about ecological disaster. Will the last living tree in California be covered by a tent like the one in Soylent Green? Will anyone care?
Even the oldest trees have the ability to produce cones with viable seeds.
“The bristlecone pines have survived for unknown centuries. The current threat is from all the people who come to visit them. ‘Methuselah’, the oldest tree, is not marked due to the threat of vandalism. The recording of past events provided by these trees, along with the great beauty are too valuable for us to lose. The bristlecones will survive on their own, but we must have enough respect for their place in the environment to assure their recordings of events yet to occur.”
http://sonic.net/bristlecone/growth.htmlYou can see several beautiful images of the bristlecones here:
Peace be upon those who hear the melody of the Dove in the Sadrat-el-Muntaha! — Bahá’u’lláh, Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 66
In a Tablet Bahá’u’lláh states, ‘The Holy Tree [Sadrat] is, in a sense, the Manifestation of the One True God, exalted be He. The Blessed Tree in the land of Za’faran referreth to the land which is flourishing, blessed, holy and all-perfumed,where that the Tree hath been planted.’]
We exhort mankind in these days when the countenance of Justice is soiled with dust, when the flames of unbelief are burning high and the robe of wisdom rent asunder, when tranquility and faithfulness have ebbed away and trials and tribulations have waxed severe, when covenants are broken and ties are severed, when no man knoweth how to discern light and darkness or to distinguish guidance from error. — Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 137