Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Goethe Giant



This is the Goethe Giant, a cypress tree over 900 years old. The marker at the trail head to this tree says "...estimated to be 907 years old." Since this is the first day of a new year, I pronounce it to be 908 years old today. I posted a picture of this tree a while back, but we took a little ride the other day and I just couldn't resist a Happy Birthday picture for the new year.

Nearby are a couple of other huge cypress trees, and a few giant cut stumps. The trail to the tree is a short walk through a mixed palm, hardwood, and pine hammock that transitions to swamp near the tree. I am always amazed at how well this giant blends into the vegetation, you could easily walk past it without noticing it...especially in the summer foliage.

2006 subtract 908 = 1098. So a cypress seed sprouted here a few years after the battle of Hastings and grew through the centuries. I could list all those important events that occurred as time went by and the tree quietly grew, but that's been done many times.

Maybe this has too, but this is the thought that really grabs me. This tree is a living connection to those earliest Floridians. Six hundred years ago, this tree was already huge and would have stood in a forest of similar trees. Did a native hunter rest against this trunk? Did we touch the same living thing even if separated by six centuries or more?

Who will touch it three hundred years from now and wonder about me?

P.S. Do yourself a favor and click here to read Laura's excellent post about stewardship.

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rick said...

Hope this one does not end up in a bag of red mulch.Me and Stu found a stump about as big as the one you are standing by.It was in a slough along the Ogeechee River.Took a picture as Stu stood by it, people freak when they see it.Wow 600 years old I too had to wonder if a Indian used it for cover as he prepared to launch an arrow at a whitetail deer.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I love thinking about stuff like this. Like, if I hadn't caught that 12-inch trout out of Lily Lake 63 years ago, what size would it be now?

Zanne said...

Awesome tree. My visit to Wakiwa Springs last February was like a step back in time. It felt absolutely prehistoric, as if a dinosaur would walk out at any moment. Somewhere I have a photo of a tree with roots like snakes reaching for hundreds of yards in every direction. I'm awful at tree identification so can't tell you what it was.

This is one awsome cypress.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

That's the feeling I have had standing in the old growth redwood forests of California. There is something absolutely awe-inspiring about touching a thing that has been living for nearly a thousand years. One of those moments that puts our own years in perspective.

Floridacracker said...

Too all, the good news about this tree is we own it together as part of 45,000 acre Goethe State Forest.