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June 07, 2004
The temptation to perceive certain living things as dead, only because their life is of a different pace than ours...

It is so tempting to perceive many of the trees on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon as dead. Their trunks are bare, bleached, stripped of bark, twisted, pushed to the ground.
Upon closer inspection, the trees reveal a more complex picture. Between the deep ridges of their bare wood are often drops of fresh golden sap. Their oddly alive branches carry not only needles but what looks like little green fruit.
These are very old plants and they are far from the end of their life cycle. Often the longest life is not the one lived most glamorously and in a rushed manner. Sometimes the long life is the one that is filled with slow growth, many seemingly painful adventures, which are however survived… and well, a lot of slowly flowing time.
Do we humans appear to these trees a bit as if we were one day flies?… If we would appear at all, we maybe would. Really pesky and loud ones I bet.


The slow growth/long life equation can be observed in animals too. Witness the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands: ridiculed for their slothful movements, they outlive most humans by a century. Who has the last laugh there?

Posted by: MacDara on June 8, 2004 04:50 AM

Would it then be a testament to human will that we produce objects and tools that overcome our shortened lives? Humans are continually on a quest to produce things that will allow us to do more within a given timespan (economist like to call it productivity, but I like to think it's involved in every aspect of our lives, not just business). We can talk to people half way around the world without travelling there. If we need to, we can travel there in a relatively short amount of time (compared with walking). So, while the giant tortoise lives about twice as long as we do, humans have compressed many lifetimes of knowledge, experiences, and work into a single lifetime through technology.

Posted by: Tommy on June 8, 2004 04:12 PM

Wonderful deep comments already, so I will just add that the textures on these trees are absolutely gorgeous, another of Nature's own works of art. I am particularly fascinated by the weathering effects of nature on natural (eg. rocks) and man-made (eg.buildings).

Enjoying your blog that I've only recently discovered...seems that there are few artist's blogs out there!

Posted by: Marja-Leena on June 9, 2004 11:38 AM

Taking in those long lived plants and their surroundings can really make your head spin. I am glad my roots are firmly planted and my supple limbs bending like the reeds to harsh forces of nature that shape my being.

Posted by: Zookiya on June 10, 2004 08:25 PM
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