Although the following trees were not official contest entries (one tree is in California, and the other was the second of two nominations by one person) they were nonetheless interesting and worthy of posting.
He has three lines of defense. He exudes a chemical which kills competing plants, can drop nuts on your head if you are not respectful, and you will trip over nuts on the ground under him. In return he provides flavor and oral gratification for the best ice cream that ever passed your lips.
-Carl Wayne Hardeman
Mt. Shasta is a punishing 14,210 foot mountain situated at the southern end of the Cascades in Northern California. The weather can be brutal with gale-force winds, deep snow, dangerous thunderstorms , and torrential run-offs from glaciers and snow pack. Even in July 2009 while mountain climbing, a blizzard came in from the southwest just over and between the twin summits of Shasta and Shastina. Winds were sustained at 40-50 miles per hour and gusting at about 75 miles per hour, and snow and ice pelted anything in its path like needles. With these conditions it is amazing to see anything living much less sustaining life on Mt. Shasta. One image of a twisted, mangled root system was, to at least one man on our team of five mountaineers, a testimony to the harsh and violent conditions on Mt. Shasta. The tree appears dead and nothing more than drift wood with splintered roots, but a closer examination revealed life, a new growth. Just inside the large, sturdy trunk is a new tree! The sapling springs up in resilience nearly fully protected inside the enclosure of its predecessor. The chance at life in a harsh and unpredictable climate like Mt. Shasta’s ecosystem is questionable at best, but this little sap has better than a chance to live and grow because of the shelter and nutrients left to it by its cousin.
Although it is not in Shelby County, Tennessee, the trees, in the attached image, do deserve an honorable mention among trees, both the ancient and the younger. My thought is that this image from another eco-system could inspire countless numbers of us to understand just how precious life is and how we can be stewards of God’s gift by buying, planting, and tending to trees in our park. A tree within a tree certainly illustrates the idea that trees are “the silent givers” and further the opportunity that we have at Shelby Farms to give back and provide for more life.
- Lamar Frizzel