Pillars of the sky | Sunday Observer

Pillars of the sky

21 February, 2021

The green giants sustain the world from the day our first parents, Adam and Eve lived among trees. Everything that existed before may have perished and stirred again but not the trees. From generation to generation, they flourished making the world what it is today. They certainly are the pillars of the sky that not even the wide oceans around the world could snatch away.

Every country has its own trees for identification and the trees make the difference. History records that the tree evolved over 370 million years ago, complete with a woody trunk, branches that attached themselves to the trunk in the same way that today it is called photosynthesis. The trunk and the branches are a part of the internal transport system.

It is a simple process where the trunk and branches bring water collected by the roots.

A tree’s root system makes up around 20 percent of connecting the tree to the ground. It helps the tree to draw moisture and minerals from the ground. The first root that a tree grows is called the tap root, which later expands to side roots. As this process keeps extending, beneath the ground in a forest, therefore competition for root space between the trees is intense.

Around the world different tree species have evolved different types of roots to suit the environment in which they grow.

Certain trees have developed what is known as pillar roots which are fast growing roots that the tree sends down from its branches into the ground where they take root and form pillar like supports for the trees.

The next time you visit the Vihara Maha Devi Park or any similar park around the country, take a good look at the trees that are maintained by the State. Try to recognise those that you are familiar with and let the children join you as they would enjoy doing so.

Identifying the bark of a tree

This will guide you to identify the tree and help you to study it. It is a wonderful experience with added knowledge as you keep discovering more and more trees not only in Sri Lanka but around the world.

It was fascinating for me to pick some at random and the experience lasts forever.

Giant Sequia
Indian Bean

These wonderful trees are scattered around the world and maybe I saw some of them when I criss/crossed in the last twenty years participating in various delegations for State work. There were many in Shakespeare properties as well as in the Knott Gardens.

The Green Sentinels

They stand like sentinels
Reaching the sky
Their might and strength in roots
Hug the good earth’s soil
And lush green burgeon
Spread forth their shading leaves
They link the sky and earth
A source of breath,
supplies the earth
As man and beast roam in
endless search
For the mysteries of life
As organism grows
Their wonders unfold
In the Summer’s golden bronze
When million blooms unfurl
Their array of petals, soft
The fragrant scent in
wisps of spray
Fill the environment through
the days
And air, refresh…..
The nature in her naked wonder
keeping the distance clear
From the tempest and
the drought
And have of nature folly
Eternal wealth abound
For man to survive
The endearing beauty of burgeon
And products of life it holds
The charm of green forestry
No words can describe
The air we breathe, they impart
They cleanse the human tide…
Gentle through the
Summer’s spell
Vibrant colours in splashing glow
Red and gold as Spring appears
Scattered ‘neath the
heavenly tress
In their myriad hue the
spreading bough
Forestry’s breath around

(from Splendour of Trees by the writer)