a teatray in the sky

拉拉山的神木 (The Divine Trees of LaLa Mountain)

Posted in Defrag by firthefirst on January 6, 2012

it’s interesting how the things that interest you change as you grow up (or get older, depending on how you like to look at things).  I used to like going back to Taiwan just because I knew it would be a week or two of food, food, and more food.  other than one trip around the island with my dad way back when, I’ve never really left Taipei.  I always figured, given that it’s almost exactly the same size as my home state of Maryland, how much could there really be to it?  but just as I’ve come to appreciate that there’s actually lots to do in the little Old Line State, I’ve also realized that Taiwan is full of diversity in its environment.  we repacked our suitcases the minute we arrived in Taipei, heading out [not so] bright and [very] early the morning after we arrived … sans Randy, who was unceremoniously dumped in Tokyo for no particular reason by United Airlines to spend a night in minibar purgatory.

sidebar: you know how people always say asians look alike?  I always assumed that it was a purely physiological phenomenon based on reduced feature variability in the genetic pool.  but apparently its psychologically ingrained in us as well.  half of us showed up in purple jackets and the other half in black jackets with no conscious intent to coordinate whatsoever.  creepy, right?

traveling with my family is always a bit maddening since no one wants to take responsibility for knowing what we are doing or when we are going or why we are doing it at all.  traveling with Tina’s family is quite a bit better, since they’re usually able to answer these questions.  so the agenda was: stomp around in the rain, see some big trees, and eat and sleep.

not just any big trees.  these junipers and cypress can grow to 50 meters tall (~160 feet) and live as long as 3,000 years. those kinds of stats make NBA players jealous.  me, I just felt like I’d landed on Pandora.  the chinese name for these massive treefolk is 神木, roughly translated as Divine Tree.  they’re also known as 巨木, which translates literally as Ginormous Tree.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this small in my entire life.  I thought of the scene in Gladiator where Juba exclaims “I did not know men could build such things” when looking up at the Colosseum for the first time.  in our day and age, when man-made monstrosities are the norm, the comparison is reversed.  I did not know nature could make such things.  (incidentally, nature wins, as the Colosseum topped out at 48 meters)

seeing a massive tree like that fallen over just makes me wish I could have been there to see it happen.  and to hear it.  the cacophony must have been incredible.

walking about in the peaceful chill of dusk was something that I realized I hadn’t done in a long time.  now that winter is good and truly here, I should have plenty of opportunities to do it.

sleeping in a hotel room with an escape sling?  that, I realized, I hadn’t done … ever.  I’m glad there were no emergencies that night, because I am sure I would not have known how to operate the escape sling.

2 Responses

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  1. Tina said, on January 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    next stop… redwoods of california!

  2. drawandshoot said, on January 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Divine is right, these are truly beautiful.

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