The Wild Trees by Richard Preston Essay
The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
For a passionate, daring and courageous writer any theme becomes a great theme. Just as a brave soldier converts defeats into victories, a genius writer weaves an extraordinary story from the ordinary stuff. To an average reader, at the cursory glance of the book, the subject matter of “The Wild Trees” may look uninteresting and he wonders whether it is a book on botany. When you begin to read the book, Richard Preston will disappoint you on this account. He has other interesting plans for you, which he reveals through his explorations through the wild growth of redwood.
“The host of golden daffodils” was always there, “beside the lake and beneath the trees,” but it needed a Wordsworth to create an immortal poem on sighting them. When something penetrates the heart of an author deeply, touches his inner chords and appeals to his emotions irresistibly, a scintillating story, a literary masterpiece is born. The thick cluster of ancient California redwood was always there and many a thousands observed them daily as they drove through the highway. But Richard Preston saw something special and fascinating in them. He saw the giant whales in them. A mesmerized Preston writes, “in order to see a giant tree you need a magnifying glass.” The biosphere of the redwood kingdom was a wonderland for him.
The latent ambition of every literary genius is to ‘cross the moon and beat the stars’ as for the imagination. Mr. Preston is candid about his literary saga. He says, “My goal is to reveal people and realms that nobody had ever imagined.” The giant, ancient California redwood creates a rainbow in his heart. From the production point of the book, the illustrations of plain line drawings of redwood structure by Andrew Joslin are equally fascinating. The artist’s brush and the writer’s pen have delivered amazing products and results to the reader.
As for this book, Richard Preston is an author-turned botanist -turned philosopher -turned spiritualist! That has been the progress of his secular adventure and journey through the inner realms, in relation to redwood trees. The roots of his physical adventure are definitely supported by the spiritual roots. Preston entered the enchanting land of redwood in Northern California in 2003 to meet a tree explorer, Steve Sillette, who figures prominently in Preston’s story. For, Sillette was no ordinary tree explorer.
He was a legendary figure, and deserved to be the central character in any related novel. Sillette was married to Marie Antoine, another staunch devotee of redwood trees. In their home, any visitor would be engulfed in endless conversation about trees, trees and trees again. That was the level of her passion for the redwood trees, Preston observes that she created clothing, Gore-Tex, the raw material used was the derivatives of the redwood tree. Preston is quite philosophical when he says that the redwood trees grow so slow, that their development is hard to measure during the course of a scientist’s lifetime. In the book you will find the beauty of the author and the authority of the scientist.
The book contains amazing details based on the gigantic trees. You feel as if you read a mystery. The size and growth of the redwood trees is unbelievable. The names given to some of the trees have been detailed in the book. Some of the strange names are: Bamboozle, Bushy Toe, Pig Snout, Trifecta, Screaming Titans etc.
A unique event is described in the book. The climbers are on the treetop hammock of a giant among he giant trees, Telpirion, and then a squall hits. It is the strong belief of the ensconced climbers that the tree has survived for eons and the countless storms have no effect on her. The climbers in the meantime escape and then the squall brings down Telperion, in the process creating a 60 feet high splash!
Preston turns spiritual when he says, “May be these trees teach us something about ourselves.” What a great silent history is ingrained in the unending stretch of redwood trees! But when it is revealed to us in the book that ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, we feel sorry. We feel as if something very dear tour hearts has been taken away from us. Preston’s book creates such a deep love for the redwood trees. We feel like clinging to the remaining 4 percent; and curse the destroyers of this forest beauty!
Preston’s account of this redwood tree adventure is amazing and truthful, because he decided to experience that adventure, before giving the final touches to his book. Therefore, he is able to write a terrifying, moving and a fascinating account. His narrative thrills you. He actually climbed those most dangerous trees to give you the perfect story.
Therefore he is able to write a splendid book about the most splendid redwood forest!
Author: Richard Preston
Title: The Wild Trees.
Publication Date: April 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster