V. Redwood – Lessons – Teachers
Genus: Sequoia – Family: Cupressaceae
Redwoods teach us to live for the long-term, and to see how life is created in the quiet moments of reflection and peace.
Sequoia sempervirensare coastal redwoods or California redwoods. Redwoods are evergreen trees that live to be 1200 to 2200 years old. They are among the oldest and tallest living beings on Earth. Redwoods are gentle giants with quiet personalities. When entering a redwood forest their presence is immediately calming and grounding because they are not troubled by the immediacy and trivialities of the outside world.
Before commercial logging, these majestic trees reached 400-425 feet tall. Coastal redwood is a valuable timber species appreciated for its lightweight beauty, strength and resistance to decay and fire.
The Yurok people, who lived among these coastal redwoods, understood the interconnections between plants, grasses and trees. They had lived there for thousands of years before settlers moved in during the 1800s. The Yurok carried out regular burnings to maintain forest openings that allowed other useful plants species to grow. The Yurok learned this lesson from the redwoods that were unharmed by fire.
As Europeans moved into the land of the Redwoods they displaced the Yurok people and the lost the lessons of proper land management. Extensive logging began in the 1800s and eventually clear cutting of old growth forests was underway. Both proved fatal to these gentle giants, which are now on the endangered species list. Faster growing trees and more numerous forest fires are now replacing these amazing trees.
The genus name Sequoia was published by the Austrian botanist Stephan Endlicher, in 1847, in honor of Sequoyah, the inventor of the first Cherokee writing system.
Message: The redwood spirit wants us to slow down and honor life’s lessons. Some lessons are hard and may seem unfair while others are easy and joyful. Both are equally important in maintaining balance and achieving true wisdom. Now is a time to honor the wisdom of the past to not repeat the same mistakes. New teachers may be presenting themselves. Remain open to learning what is apparent and what is concealed to understanding the deeper lessons of life.
Challenge: Feeling unheard by others, using sarcasm or a condescending tone when in the presence of those we could learn from. We may be blinding our self from finding our way or we may be giving our power to someone else. Now is a time to soften and receive.