Mountain View Redwood

Tallest Tree on Ortega Avenue
Chopped Down on September 29, 2008

By Peter Y. Chou

Preface: My hiking friend who lives a block away told me about the giant redwood in her back court. Half of its top was sheared off during a thunderstorm earlier this year. Now it was deemed unstable and was destined to be chopped down. She measured its base with a tape to be 21 feet in circumference. On our nature hikes this summer, we've encountered only two redwoods that's larger— a 30-foot Old Growth Redwood in Thornewood Open Space Preserve, and a 50-foot redwood in El Corte de Madera Creek. The first three photos on this page were taken on Tuesday, August 26. Since then, I've admired it from close-up and afar. This redwood is clearly the tallest tree on the street. My friend told me that the city would chop it down on Monday, September 29 at 8 am. When I left for Stanford on Sunday at 2 pm, I could see its top from a long block away on Showers Drive. When I woke up at 7:45 am Monday to pick up the San Jose Mercury News on my balcony, I saw it still standing over the Hastings Condos. I had my radio alarm set to 9:20 am and went back to sleep. I dreamt of a snowstorm and someone telling me about a tall tree chopped down in Carmel. My alarm didn't come on when I woke suddenly at 9:53 am. I ran to my door, opened it and saw a giant crane next to the tall Redwood. Suddenly, it toppled— going straight down. My friend phoned saying I've missed all the action. I didn't have time to drink my morning coffee and rushed over with my camera. Below are the photos and haikus for the occasion on the death of the oldest and tallest member in our neighborhood.
Note: At the time when this Redwood was chopped down, Wall Street had their worst one-day plunge— the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 777.68 because Congress failed to pass the Bail-out bill.

Click on Photos for Enlarged Images

Saturday, September 27, 2008, 11:20 am
400 Ortega Avenue, Mountain View
Last prayer for soon-to-be chopped Redwood
Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwood)

O giant Redwood tree—
top-half sheared off by storm
now they'll chop you down.
Sunday, September 28, 2008, 2:00 pm
400 Ortega Avenue, Mountain View
Top of this Redwood could be seen
from Showers Drive, a long block away

I see you from far away
standing tall above all—
Do you know your demise?

Monday, September 29, 2008, 9:53 am
Mountain View: From my balcony saw
tallest Redwood topple across the street
at Hastings Square on Ortega Avenue
Estimated height: 110 feet tall

After waking up—
opened my door just in time
to see this tree fall!
Monday, September 29, 2008, 10:30 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
400 Ortega Avenue. Seeing demise
of the tallest tree on our street

Tallest and oldest
neighbor has died— chopped off
by the giant South Bay Crane.
Monday, September 29, 2008, 10:35 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
Mid-sections of chopped-down Redwood

Thirty-two main rings
with four faint ones in between—
over 100 years old?
Monday, September 29, 2008, 10:35 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
Mid-sections of chopped-down Redwood
Insight on 32 signs of the Buddha

32 rings— signs
of the Buddha— 4 Noble Truths
and the 8-Fold Path!

Monday, September 29, 2008, 10:40 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
33 rings on this Redwood mid-section
33o Highest rank of Freemasonry

33 rings slice
from this Redwood— a great gift
for a Freemason!
Monday, September 29, 2008, 10:45 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
South Bay Crane & Rigging Inc.
transporting section of Redwood

Here's the fifth section
they've chopped off and carted
away from your old self.
Monday, September 29, 2008, 11:00 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
South Bay Crane & Rigging Inc.
carting last section of Redwood

The last piece of you
chopped off and shipped away—
Do I hear your pain?
Monday, September 29, 2008, 11:15 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
South Bay Crane & Rigging Inc.
Fruits of their three-hour labor

Tall Redwood all chopped—
six sections of what's left
from your soaring grandeur.

Monday, September 29, 2008, 11:30 am
Mountain View: Hastings Square
Remaining stump of tall Redwood

Yesterday— tallest
one on this street— today
you're the shortest tree.

— Peter Y. Chou, Mountain View, September 29, 2008

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© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (9-29-2008)