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In the Shadows of Giants

Wherever We May Roam

By Steven Moore

Nature has the ability to humble us, to make us feel small, and cause us to reflect on how fragile and short our human lives can be. A couple of years ago, on a trip to the magnificent Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in California, never were these feelings so evident as when we walked in the shadows of giants.

By volume, the other-worldly sequoia trees are the largest living things on Earth. They can tower to heights of over three-hundred feet and have an unbelievable diameter of as much as sixty feet. To put that measurement into context, it’s the equivalent of ten adult men joining hands and reaching around the trunk.

Arguably, the greatest empire the world has ever seen was that of the Romans, who managed to cling to power for a paltry 1,470 years. To give you just a little more humbling context, sequoias have been known to live for 3,500 years. That’s a figure I can barely get my head around, let alone my arms. I’m not old, but when I stood next to a sequoia I felt positively young, amid such regal and dignified age.

To say that Leslie and I were in awe at the monolithic size and ancient splendor of the trees, not to mention the marvelous surrounding beauty of California’s national parks, is an understatement of the highest order. Those trees, whose strong gargantuan arms seemed to hold up the vast and vaulted sky, soared to unimaginable heights. Their rich red bark, so rough and yet so striking, dazzled, as the late afternoon sun cast an ethereal glow all about the natural cathedral of light, even where one of the graceful giants had fallen. New and beautiful life could often be found among such tragic death.

“The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature,” said famed naturalist John Muir more than one hundred years ago. I doubt even Muir, the environmental philosopher and advocate of wilderness preservation in the United States, believed his pessimistic words could have been so prophetic. Indeed, we humans are certainly trying our best to destroy this amazing world, hacking and fracking our way through rain forests and jungles and river systems across several continents, with barely a thought in regard to the loss of habitat for plants and animals, and indeed, to the ultimate cost of all future life on planet Earth.

So, my friends, and readers of Atención, I recommend we see as much of this world as we can before it’s too late. As the great man Muir also said:

“The world is big, and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”

And by dark, I’m sure he meant destroyed!

Steven can be found at his blog:
Leslie can be found at her blog:


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