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Its Ascending Greenness

After a century and a half the Douglas fir has tired of enclosing itself in new rings, has given it up, withdrawn its needles, and after standing around, whistling in the wind, looking nonchalant, it has been noticed and sawed down. Who can describe the growing uncertainty of its trembling crown, or its first cracking, the unutterable sweep of its rushing, or the final, ground-jarring crump of its crash, and then the small silence as the forest regathered itself and the people looked at the round of sky overhead? Next morning the trunk was held fast be gleaming spider lines, but this Gulliver will never be led to the spider queen by Lilliputians. Oh, there are larger, older, taller firs - plenty of them. But this one did spring up before Thoreau went to

Walden, gold turned up at Sutter's Fort, or Justice Taney made his terrible pronouncement about Dred Scott - here, singing in the air, probing its roots deeper into the rocky earth, unmoved by war or earthquake. This is a song for the tree, for its singular nature, unassuming, glad with branches, cones, uttering its great trunk upward all that time, right here, right where we are standing, touched by this tree we touch, thinking of its quiet, significant life, its ascending greenness.

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