By Mark Glasser, NWS Board
Recently, I was reminded how slowly time moves for many trees. In doing maintenance on the Poetry Trail at Newport State Park, I had to remove a 6-inch diameter Ash tree that had fallen across the trail. Two simple cuts and I removed the section of the tree that blocked the trail. On a whim, I counted the rings and discovered the tree was between 80 and 100 years old.
There were two observations that followed next. One, it was hard to count the actual number of rings as they were so close together. Two, under the canopy of the tall trees, a new tree takes many years to mature. For being older than me, the tree was not that big.
As I hike through the forest at Newport State Park and throughout forests everywhere, trees are a great reminder of the movement of time. I often think, what have these trees seen over their lifetime? Here in Door County, we have white cedar trees on the Niagara Escarpment that are over 1,000 years old. In California, you can hike under the majestic Redwood trees that are 3,000 years old, and alongside the gnarly, stunted, but beautiful in their own way, Bristlecone Pines that are over 4,000 years old.
I often find it comforting to know that with all the change going on in the world, some of the trees we walk under will still be there for generations to come. So, say hello to your favorite trees as you walk by them. Touch them and feel their staying power. Be thankful for the shelter they provide and the beauty in nature.