Summer Snapshots: Burls, A Lesson from the Redwoods


When you walk through an old growth redwood forest you are surrounded by living beings who were here at the time of Chaucer, Maimonides, and maybe even back to the Prophet Mohammed, Rabbi Hillel and Jesus. This forest, thousands of years old, undisturbed by humans, with the redwoods still in charge, is healthy, stable, clean, orderly, beautiful and temperate, very comfortable for humans.

Question: how healthy, stable, clean, orderly, beautiful and temperate are the cities where most of us humans live? How is the planet as a whole, the “forest” where we are in charge, doing? Maybe we could summon the humility to learn something from the wisdom of these ancient beings.

Here’s one thing: burls. A trail sign in Humbolt Redwoods State Park says:

Redwood burls can weigh several tons and hold hundreds of cloned dormant buds which can sprout into new saplings if the tree is put under too much stress … [such as from] fire, injury, or even the toppling over of the entire tree.

Take another look at the picture, at the burl and at the little tree. Imagine if we were a little more like the redwoods. Imagine if we devoted ourselves to properly preparing the inheritance of life for the next generation, for everyone who lives together in the forest.

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