Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hugging a Giant

Talking about religion, just by the time Jesus was born, there was a tall sequoia tree no too far from what we call Fresno today. It had been raising to the sun for about two hundred years by then. Now it’s 2200 years old and still alive. That’s just natural for his species and it has another thousand years to go.  I went to pay him a visit and there it was, surrounded by a solid shield of silence that absorbs even the sound of dry leaves creaking under my steps.  Besides him, a huge branch that just felt some years ago, heavy as a truck, full of lovers' signatures. The air is chilly, but not cold. The light of the sun reflects as artificial flames burning statically in one of his sides.

Under this giant, I hear the word "beautiful" in many languages. One kind Swiss guy made me the favor to trigger the camera while I was standing at the base for size reference. In the middle of a small conversation, I told him what I love most of such enormous and old creatures: the fact that they make my problems look like grains of sand. He stood silent and turned his head towards the top of the tree as if he was looking at it for the first time.

This is not even the tallest tree is the world, it’s the one with the biggest volume. But then again, the volume is a concept that is important for us, humans. We like to put things on lists and keep records. In the same forest, you can find the tree that has the record of the biggest base area. It’s all geometry games we play in our heads. The tree itself is hardly an individual; it’s more like a constant flow of life that runs from the floor to the sky until it’s so tall that it falls and starts all over again.  

I found revealing the fact that sequoias NEED wildfires to survive. As the humans were protecting them, they were interrupting their natural cycle of reproduction and actually killing the trees out of love. Now there are controlled fires around the base to allow for the acorns to actually be fertile, among other more complicated process we are now aware of. 

Human medicine needs to reach the same point where we understand destruction as part of construction and death as part of life. Death is not a sad debt to be pay, it’s actually necessary to sustain the progress of the most formidable forms of life.

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