The Hour Glass

Time. Three hundred, four hundred, five hundred years or more, towering over a single plot of earth no larger than a common back yard. All you’ve got is time. The days drop away like tiny grains of sand. But you don’t feel it. All you feel is the wind in your tops and the cold winter rains. For most of your life there was birdsong and coyote chatter and little else save what the wind wrought in the nearby branches. But then there were voices and the sounds of machines, what iron and steel say to each other when heated and fed the essence, the very blood of your own kin. You stand for ten, twenty lives of men and wind up the refined and fermented fuel sloshing around in the bowels of the very same machines that foul the air you breathe and kill off your kind with their noxious pollution. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You have no voice of your own and no means of self-defense or escape. You can’t build a rocket ship and settle somewhere else after the world dies. You can’t wage your own revolution. You can’t stop them from destroying your home. All you can do is what you’ve always done – absorb sunlight and minerals and grow. Persevere. Keep stretching toward the sky. And hope they’ll get it in time. You’re a redwood, Sequoia Sempervirens. The tallest living thing on the planet, and one of the oldest. And how do they honor you? They cut you down like so many blades of grass and fashion you into picnic tables and fence posts. They shred your skin to line flowerbeds and cut you into planks for the decks that adorn their own backyards. Sequoia. Your name means Sparrow but you are anything but small. It is from the Cherokee; another decimated and desecrated race driven from their lands on a thousand mile march called the trail of tears. Time. Who knows how much you have left? Surely not another two hundred million years, for that’s how long you’ve lived. You were the trees of the true Jurassic park, a trillion grains of sand ago.

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