Story Tree by Reg Davis
In the year of 875, on the Saanich Peninsula, a tiny Fir seedling broke through the fertile soil, inhaled its first breath of pure air, felt the soft breezes and the warmth of the sun upon its tender leaves, then proceeded on an incredible journey through time.
Six hundred and seventeen years later, as Christopher Columbus first stepped onto the shores of this continent, this tree, or Th-Kuat, as it was known to the Indians, stood tall and proud over its domain.
Generations of these first Canadians had been born and died during these growing years,
many of whom had often sought shelter beneath its protective arms during violent storms and oppressive heat. Upon leaving its shelter they would thank the Spirit of the tree for its haven and then continue their nomadic wanderings.
Three hundred more years passed. Captain Vancouver came, named the land himself, charted the waters and rugged coast line, and then left. The tree grew taller and sturdier. its roots groping ever deeper in its insatiable thirst for water and minerals, its leaves reaching skyward for carbon and oxygen it craved, and each year one more ring formed within its bowels.
Three more generations of Indians were born and died as the tree continued its journey.
Fifty more years passed, until Sir James Douglas set foot in Victoria and the tree which was named after him continued to grow unimpressed.
One hundred and thirty years later, the tree, now 1100 years of age, 110 feet tall, its girth protected by six inches of gnarled weather beaten bark, its sides still bearing the scars of some past forest fire, is still with us.
Some of its massive arms have grown weary and fallen, but it still stands magnificent, pensive in its awesome size. What sights it must have seen in its lifetime. What tales it could tell, were it able to speak! Long after you and I, our children and their children are dead and buried, will it still be stubbornly growing?
Hundreds of people drive by every day, unseeing, or even aware of this marvel of nature so close to them. Dozens more slice, hook, and curse away beneath its huge size and silent shadows, for it is now the guardian of the third tee on Ardmore golf course in North Saanich.
Stand at its feet and look up into its face. Admire its strong body and outstretched arms towering above you. Marvel at its tenacity of 1100 years, and its survival of both man's and nature's ravages. For those of you who look at such wonders materially, try to estimate the billions of gallons of water it has consumed in its life time, or the board feet of lumber, and number of homes its body could produce, and its value in cold, hard cash.
But, if you are like me you will touch its aged body almost with reverence, envy it for its long life, and for what it has seen and heard, and perhaps then you will realize, as I did with quite some humiliation, just how puny and insignificant we all are in comparison.