Redwoods Eek: Meet the Monster Tree

Do you spy a certain Mr. Vader within this famous trees nooks and crannies?

HOW IS A CLOUD LIKE A TREE? Listing the differences between the amorphous water-holding vaporous stars of the sky and the bark-strong, limb-lovely stars of the forest could take someone the better part of the day, but here's one truth that cannot be quibbled with: Both occur in nature. Anyone? No argument? Then we're ready to put forth one more connection that should be low on the quibble scale: People see shapes and faces in clouds and trees alike. Clouds seems to get more cred on this one, but hikers regularly point out shrubs and branches that hold a certain eerie mien or facial expression that isn't normally found in the wild world. Look to Redwood National Park, which is rather known for its trees (and, yes, foggy clouds above, though those can be harder to discern thanks to all of the tall giants filling the space above our heads). And look to the so-called Monster Tree, which some think of as the Darth Vader Tree, a redwood of glowery gloriousness thanks to its recesses and patterns.

DO YOU SEE EITHER? It really is an eye-of-the-beholder thing, but if you want to marvel before the Monster Tree in person, make for the Berry Glen Trail, which happens to boast more beautiful and strange specimens of the giant (giant giant) plant. Look for the Scabby Tree, and the Twisted Snag, and discuss with your part whether the woodsy wonders do inspire a viewer to see things that aren't truly there. But we do that with clouds, right? And all sorts of things in nature and in the human-made world, too? Surely a redwood has a few magic properties beyond its epic ability to grow hundreds of feet over hundreds of years. Is that a dog shape in that one trunk? And, over there, a tomato or a rose? Find fantasy in the old forests at Halloween and all year long.

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