Natural Beauty

First of all,I did not shoot this today. It’s been raining for over a week now and I haven’t been able to get out on the water.
I’m getting fungus on my shooting finger! I decided to post one of the nudes I shot a few years ago.
This tree is called “Earth Mother” and is on Meares Island. It is not on the “Big Tree Trail” on Meares. People get confused about that.
Earth Mother is in a spot that requires you to get someone to guide you there. It’s not a long hike by any means,but you would be better served by someone showing you. Not many people go up to visit her anymore. You see ,she was blown down in a huge Winter wind storm.
I shot this in August of 96. She was taken down in the following January.
I was the first person to find her.
I went up to clear out the pathway a bit with a Machete. It was getting overgrown & I thought I’d clean it up a bit and visit my old friend.
I got to work cutting all the bush growing in on the path. I was cutting for well over a hour. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was exactly. I realized at one point that I had trimmed all the way up to where Earth Mother was. I remember stopping cutting & turning around and not being able to understand what I was seeing! It literally caught me off guard so badly that I could not understand what I was looking at! It suddenly came to me that she had been blown over! I was so shocked to see my friend just laying there hopeless & broken! She had taken out 1/2 dozen very large trees on her way down! The root ball was vertical now and reached at least 25 feet high!
Seeing all this made me feel profoundly sad. The scene had caught me unprepared and startled me.
This tree is most certainly over a thousand years old!
Earth Mother is listed as being the 6th largest Western Red Cedar known on the planet.(“Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast” Robert Van Pelt,pg 31)
The volume was calculated at 10,350 cubic ft.
In comparison…….the largest known tree is the “General Sherman”. A California Sequoia roughly 5 times the volume of Earth Mothers!(55000 cubic feet)
Earth Mother started as a seedling during the crusades! She has seen many a moon! She had a full life. These ancient giants are numbered and their numbers are dropping!
Anyone who had ever seen her knew instantly what direction she would fall. She had a natural lean to the south. I am looking north in this shot. One of the reasons I believe she was able to survive for so long,was the fact that a north-south ridge to the east of her blocked all the huge storm winds from the SE! This ridge protected her for over a thousand years!
When a tree becomes so large like Earth Mother,it’s canopy sticks above the rest of the tree’s in the forest. This huge surface area takes on a wind load during a storm. Kind of like the sails of a sailing boat! Earth Mother leaned against the normal storm winds, and that ridge decreased the winds force dramatically!
At the end of January(97) we had a “sustained” north wind all day. It was a very strong wind from the north. We do get storm winds from the north when a storm’s vortex passes over,but they are usually not sustained winds. They are transient winds. The storms rotation is just passing over the area.
For whatever reason,this wind storm drove very strong winds down from the north all day! Earth Mother was already leaning to the south and I guess the sustained northerly was the final bell tolling for Earth Mother. She was brought down on that fateful day!
Of course nobody was there when it happened.I was the first person to find her & that was almost a month after the storm!
After doing a little research on the recent wind storms,I came up with this theory. I’m not really sure what happened but this is my best guess. Nobody will ever know what happened,but does it really matter?
I feel lucky to of seen her standing! She’s not dead by the way. Her root system is still intact on one side. She appears to be getting enough water/nutrients. She’s not growing,but she’s not dieing either!
I think she’ll be around a bit longer.
I use to love hiking up to her and reading at the base. It was always deadly quiet up there. You could here a mosquito coming at you from meters away!
However,this is natures way. These large trees will eventually decay into a “nurse logs” and provide nutrients for many more trees and insects.
Everything gets recycled………including us!

2 thoughts on “Natural Beauty

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