Which is not widely accepted, I know. But it's true.
People love trees because they're so tall and stately and because walking through a forest, especially amongst the coast redwoods of Northern California ( Sequoia Sempervirens - and just in case you're cynical, no, I didn't have to look this up, not even for the spelling) is almost - nah, not almost, it IS a religious experience.
Being under the trees there is like being in a cathedral- moving hastily or making any sort of noise seems somehow sacrilegious- and even thinking about letting slip a fart would be inviting consignment to the 7th level of hell- or is that the 9th?- this I can't recall, though one day I expect I will know this.
But why is the ambience there so sarcophagal,- as it is in New Zealand's pine forests?
The reason trees grow tall in the first place is to cut off the sunlight to every other photosynthesising species trying to get a leg up into the forest canopy. Strike Two
In California, this was an arms race that Sequoia won a long time ago- and Sempervirens isn't about to take its boot off the downtrodden any time soon
And it gets worse; the redwood (and pines) also use every sort of biological warfare to discourage (war-speak for kill-off) competition.
Redwoods use their very thick bark, saturated in insect, plant, and fungus discouraging biocides, to create a lifeless zone down there below the canopy. No insects means no birds. No undergrowth, no insects and no birds means that not even small furtive reptiles or mammals can make much of a living down there.
And that's not the worst of it:
Trees also sequester (lock up, hold on to) carbon- which otherwise we'd all be free to profligately squander in our cars, planes, boats and trains - and lawnmowers. Though a view that might be considered somewhat controversial, this is yet another example of the selfish behaviour of trees.
But even this isn't the worst of it.
About now I need to wander off for a while- but will get back to the central theme soon I promise.
My father was a man of trees, he planted thousands of them, which he then lovingly tended every Sunday afternoon with a long handled pruning saw. Execution In Progress
His plan was that the trees he planted and pruned would become a valuable timber crop; that the pruning would ensure longer knot-free planks, more than repaying the time spent.
And this all worked out splendidly, except that the pruning was, in hindsight, a waste of time and effort, as was the tree planting actually, but what worked really well was owning the land under the trees. It's appreciation generated a rate of return over 30 years or so that share market investors could only dream of- even after the cost of felling and clearing the land again was factored in.
And this is where the worst of it comes in- because his love of trees and my love of kites is in fundamental conflict. Run for it!!
His legacy (he died early last year at 97 after an exemplary life and having established the world's number one museum dedicated to woodworking in general and ornamental turning in particular) was, for me, a kite field entirely surrounded by evil trees- and trees becoming more evil by the day as they grew ever higher and higher to take over the sky, which should surely be the domain of KITES!
While he was still around, I did surreptitiously disappear quite a few, but in the latter half of last year, in concert with my brother-in-law neighbour and a specialist tree fella (both of whom have excellent chainsaws and know how to use them) we did to another 75 or so big ones.
Which has had a beneficial side effect; tonnes and tonnes of firewood, which will be very useful because according to credible authorities, " Winter is coming. " No, the credible authority isn't the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) but 'Game of Thrones'- a much more believable source in my view.
But 75 wasn't enough, even though I've been operating by the doctrine of collective responsibility with regard to kites and trees for some year now- by which, when a tree murders a kite, not only that tree, but also it's neighbours feel the chainsaw. The Executioner
In the penultimate development flight of the latest 22 sq.m Lifter, a tree reached out and snatched it from the sky- which had a prompt and predictable consequence for the tree- see photos- it took barely minutes from crime to execution.
And I thought that this would have been lesson enough for those trees still standing, but it wasn't.
Next time there was wind, during the final checking flight before sending this kite for production, a tree over the other side of our kite field took it and has held it hostage now for more than 3 weeks.
Actually there are two guilty trees - each of them has a bit of it. They'd have been chopped by now excepting that both have a lean the wrong way so will take out a building to their northern side if we're not very careful with the felling. They're on death row though, just a matter of time, no appeals will be considered. All That I Have Retrieved
And the sooner the better, because winter has come; best ice and the most snow we've had for decades, but brrrr it's been cold here this year.
Peter Lynn, Ashburton, New Zealand, August 1 '13.
PS, And the real news; snuck out here in the expectation that no-one will read through this far: Watch This Space
If you're now convinced that flying kites is the greatest threat that trees have around here, then best think again- it's not kite flying , but kite patenting that destroys the most trees. I'm in the final stages of securing IP on a new traction kite, and the mountain of paper that this process has generated already must be making even distant rainforests shake (isn't the computer age supposed to be paperless?!)
I didn't think there remained any useful type of traction kite still to be discovered, was sure that progress from now would come from iterative development of known styles.
I was wrong.
Watch this space.
Whale At Clearwater
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