Strange Twisting Tree

I’ve seen some incredible trees in my life.  There are the ancient bristle cone pines here in California are supposed to be the oldest living trees on earth, with one that is 5063 years old!!!  (Now that’s even older than me!!!)  Then there are the giant sequoia trees that reach heights in excess of 311 feet and diameters greater than 56 feet.  These trees may annually disperse between 300-400,000 seeds!  In Lahaina, Maui, is an incredible banyan tree.  In Africa I saw baobab trees that were of immense size.  As the poem by Joyce Kilmer says, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”

When we were hiking near Lake Tahoe, we came across an interesting tree.  It wasn’t as big as a Sequoia or as old as a bristle cone pine, nor did its branches drop to the ground and make new roots to support the branches like the banyan tree.  But it was quite an interesting tree.  I’ve never seen a tree do this before….where a branch grew out sideways out of a trunk, then turned skyward and re-merged with another branch.  It was interesting because it appeared as if the tree had at one time been struck by lightning and it blew the top of the tree off because there were strange branches like this all growing out of the same area on the tree and there really wasn’t any main trunk going up from that spot.

Ah, sweet mysteries!  Don’t you love it when life is full of wonder and makes you ponder something new?
_MG_7808ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: For nearly two months following the Battle of Chickamauga, the Confederates, commanded by General Braxton Bragg, had pinned the Union army inside Chattanooga. They were not able to surround the city, though, and occupied Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge to the south and east of the city instead. In late October, arriving to take command, Union General Ulysses S. Grant immediately began to form an offensive. On October 27, Union troops attacked Brown’s Ferry southwest of Chattanooga and opened the Tennessee River to boats that brought much needed supplies to the besieged Yankees.

On November 23, Grant began to attack the center of the lines around the city. Lookout Mountain lay on the Union’s far right, and the action there commenced on November 24. Yankee General Joseph Hooker commanded this wing, and his men advanced toward the fog-covered peak. Hooker did not plan to attack the entire mountain that day, thinking the granite crags would be difficult to overcome. The fog masked the Union advance, however, and Hooker’s men climbed relatively easily. The Confederates had overestimated the advantages offered by the mountain, and 1,200 Rebels faced nearly 12,000 attacking Yankees. Artillery proved of little use, as the hill was so steep that the attackers could not even be seen until they appeared near the summit. Bragg did not send reinforcements because the Union attack against the Confederate center was more threatening than the sideshow around Lookout Mountain. The Confederates abandoned the mountain by late afternoon. The next day, Union forces launched a devastating attack against Missionary Ridge and successfully broke the Confederate lines around Chattanooga.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the number of wild turkeys in the US has increased from an all time low of 30,000 to more than four million today. One state park in Iowa now boasts more than 100 turkeys per square mile. (Strangely enough, I think that must be the place where most of my turkey relatives live!!!!)

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