Friday, December 24, 2021

Hoping All a Peaceful Christmas and a Better New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! As is my (sometimes neglected) tradition, I offer up a very big Christmas tree, the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park. The tree is so large (268 feet high, 40 feet across at the base) that it took three pictures for me to capture it.

I don't have a shot of the General Grant all dressed in snow, so here is another Sequoia after a surprise storm during an April trip some years ago.
The tree was declared by Calvin Coolidge in 1926 to be the nation's Christmas Tree. At an early ceremony, park superintendent Colonel John White said ""We are gathered here around a tree that is worthy of representing the spirit of America on Christmas Day. That spirit is best expressed in the plain things of life, the love of the family circle, the simple life of the out-of-doors. The tree is a pillar that is a testimony that things of the spirit transcend those of the flesh.

Individual trees can live for several thousand years, but the genus has existed since the time of the dinosaurs. They once grew across the northern hemisphere until they were done in by the Ice Ages. They survive today in several dozen groves scattered across the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

It has really been a tough couple of years with droughts and other natural disasters. I am especially mourning the loss of so many Sequoia trees to wildfires. In the last two years, some 20 percent of all the Sequoia trees on this planet were destroyed. As we celebrate the beauty of these wonderful trees, we must acknowledge our role in their destruction, through climate change and misguided management of the groves. A horrible loss but the trees persist through it all.

It's odd to write of loss and tragedy in a post about a "happy" holiday season, but this holiday season has that sense of gloom and loss as well. I'm seeing people I've not seen in a long time, but we've had to be very careful, and the potential for tragedy continues in the form of a tiny but virulent virus that is surging for a fourth time. There is loss, but there is resilience as well, and that is my hope for all of you that you'll discover joy despite the losses we have all experienced.

I wish a wondrous season to you all!


Mark Lehnhoff said...

And to you as well!
I always enjoy your blogs, so this is a good time to say: Thank you!

Hollis said...

thanks for the wonderful photos, made me smile! And best wishes to you in the year to come.

Garry Hayes said...

Thanks for the kind comments!