In my spare time my favorite activities are exploring the city, hanging out in coffee houses reading and listening to music. I like most kinds of music but I usually listen to classical, classic rock or a little jazz. But if you're into death metal or other kinds please tell me about it.
More to come later. Have a good day!
I am pensive, creative, and aquatic
Unfortunately this summer I am out with the water jugs again late at night. If you are in Seattle you know how incredibly hot it is. And some of the trees I am watering are dying anyway!
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As a footnote I read about a tree called the Dawn Redwood which was discovered in 1941 growing in China. It was known to tree experts from fossils that had been studied for a long time but then they found a living one! Imagine the joy. I read there was a Dawn Redwood growing in the Seattle Arboretum planted from seeds gathered in the 1940's and I wanted to see it. It's deciduous (loses its leaves every year) unlike the California Redwood which is evergreen and I thought perhaps the name "Dawn" referred to its color in the autumn. So I went to the Arboretum on a very sunny warm October afternoon and the visitor center pointed me in the direction of the "pines" section. I walked over there and couldn't find it anywhere and I checked almost every tree. A really, really old man was resting on a bench nearby.
"Are you enjoying the trees?" he asked.
"Oh yes, very much" I replied. I assumed I was just talking to a random old man but was about to realize that was very much not the case.
"Do you happen to know where the Dawn Redwood is?" I asked. "I've looked everywhere for it".
"Ohhhhh, yes. I think there is one back down the trail a short distance. But it isn't a very good one. It's rather small and unimpressive. There are some others a little ways from here which are better. Would you like to go there with me?"
So I am already a little surprised to learn there is more than one tree but then the old gentleman gets off the bench and begins walking at quite a brisk pace even though he is using a stick. I follow and he tells me more.
"The Dawn Redwood has 22 chromosomes. And our California Coastal Redwood has 66! That isn't a coincidence. All the higher Angiosperms are fertilized by the wind, not by insects. And as a result they are not very fussy about who they hybridize with. In the fossil record there is another species which is believed to have the 44 chromosomes. With the modern DNA technology it's possible someone might find a remnant with the DNA intact but it hasn't happened yet. What happens is that sometimes when the species hybridizes the cell wall fails to form during cell division and then the offspring end up with double the number of chromosomes." He went on to explain that this was not necessarily a disadvantage and also that it was remotely possible there was a species with 33 chromosomes which then evolved to 66. It was like I wanted to write down every word he said. So there is a real missing link mystery here.
Finally he led me into a rather deep woods for a short distance and then pointed out the trees. There was three of them with one larger than the other two and it was a mighty tree almost 100 feet tall. They had started to shed their foliage and the leaves looked just like a California Redwood. They had not changed color; the fallen foliage was green. I can't describe my amazement at holding a leaf in the palm of my hand of a tree that only grows in China and seeing with my own eyes that it looked just like the leaf of a tree that only grows in California. What is the explanation for that? And I was at a loss to express my deep gratitude to the old man for leading me there. I paused a few moments to experience the stillness of the forest. They were really beautiful trees and there wasn't any sign to identify them. Perhaps they are concerned about vandalism.
Can you even begin to imagine something that is older than all the ancient redwoods that have ever lived in the world? Well, this really is it. Like looking backwards in time millions of years. A memorable afternoon for me.
Does this sound like fun to you? Would you like to join me for my next tree-related adventure :) ?
I like classical music a lot but I sometimes listen also to jazz or classic rock if I'm in the mood.
I recently read the biography of Domenico Scarlatti by Ralph Kirkpatrick, and I am now reading Handel by Christopher Hogwood.
... I'm still thinking