By Trina Machacek
Maybe because I have lived in the desert for such a long, long time or maybe because of their majesty, I love trees. Okay I know that I am not supposed to equate the word and feeling of love with non-human things but I stand by my feelings. I love trees. Who in their right mind would not?
I was recently reading about trees and it brought to mind a question that I have asked a few people along my life’s path, none of whom could answer me. How come, if trees grow every year, getting new leaves or needles, bloom and grow, why aren’t trees like four thousand feet tall? Seems trees should just grow taller and taller. But they don’t do they?
There are a group of trees that I have admired for the 40 plus years I have been traveling on the road between Eureka and Carlin. They are beautiful and are in a stand of two majestic rows on a ranch. I understand that the Eureka-Palisade railroad which ran from 1873 to 1938, would stop at these trees and often a baseball game would be played during the whistle stop. That image makes me always smile when I see that grove of trees. (Weather the story is true or not, I choose to believe it!)
Learning about these trees I have gleaned that they have been there for many more years that I know about. But in the past forty years they have not gotten any taller than the first time I saw them. This is amazing to me. I mean they get green every spring. Bud out getting new leaves and I assume grow. But why don’t they get any taller? Apparently this is a question that will not be able to be answered to my satisfaction within my circle of friends. So this is just one of those mysteries of life. But just how many of those type of questions are there out there? Like…
Why is it that grass will grow happily where you don’t want it to grow? Like in my flower beds or garden. But just try to get grass to grow that happily as a lawn! Why do spiders look so much bigger and scarier inside than they do outside? Let’s grab a vine and swing on back to the trees.
Apparently trees have some sort of internal genetic structures that tells them to grow only so tall. Pine trees, apple trees, olive trees all grow but will “top” out at different heights. Like the giant Redwood trees. Now if I were a tree, no matter if I were just a little scrub cedar tree I would strive to be as tall and majestic as a redwood. But in reality the biggest reason I can see that redwood trees grow so huge and cedars grow all scrubby is water. Poor cedars in dryer climates get to drink about ten times a year. But redwoods growing closer to the ocean getting watered almost daily by rain? Well they have no choice but to grow and grow. Maybe since I seem to always be trying to convince my scale that I have not grown nearly as much as it reports to me that I have, I should not wish to be a giant redwood or a giant anything!
Speaking of growing, let’s take a little side excursion here. I have kittens. Well I personally didn’t have the kittens one of my outside cats had kittens. I have to be more precise! It seems that there is never an ugly kitten or puppy or baby goat or sheep or cow. Well you get the idea. When anyone, and here I really mean anyone. When anyone I have ever known holds a baby animal sooner or later they will remark that they are just as cute as can be—and then say “Oh if they would just stay that size.” You too? I’m betting if you didn’t say it you have heard it said. It’s just human nature to want those little bundles of fur to stay cute and cuddly. But they don’t. They grow up to be mice getters, rabbit getters, cheese makers, lamb chops or rib eye steaks! Oh there goes the scale again!
So here you have two sides of a diverse coin. Wanting trees to grow up to the sky but keeping baby animals from growing up at all. I’m telling ya, middle ground is about as welcome in this conversation as a left handed person sitting with seven right handed people around a six person dining room table! Think about that!
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at email@example.com