Titan of California
This pen and concept is being developed for the fall of 2017. It will be worth the wait. In the meantime, read about the transformation of the wood into a pen in the story “Son of Mother of the Earth"
Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae (formerly treated in Taxodiaceae).
Common names include coast redwood, coastal redwood and California redwood.
It is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living 1,200–1,800 years or more.
The pen will look similar to the one in the picture, but I am trying to get a rare figured burl of California Redwood.
A native California redwood burl will be transformed into another Titan pen this Fall 2017...Watch for it.
Son of Mother of the Forest
Mark Twain was famous for his story telling and quotes. He once said, “Why ruin a good story with the facts”. So please read this story as fun and don’t become perturbed if I warp a few geological, time and historical facts. Who knows, someday, Disney or Stephen Spielberg will make this into a movie. I would like my character to be played by Sean Connery. Perhaps your character could be played by Sean Penn or Brad Pitt.
Thousands of years ago, in the mountains of Southern California, my mother lived deep in the forest. Mother was the tallest tree in the forest, and indeed, in the whole world. She had an immense trunk, 30 feet in diameter and was over 400 feet tall. Her leaves at the top formed a huge canopy that shrouded the forest floor in darkness. Around her base were smaller trees , shrubs and a rich blanket of soil. She was nourished by the warm sunlight in her leaves, and sweet rain and fog, that would flow from the skies.She was given the name "Mother of the Forest" by the native hunters and food gatherers that roamed the forest. At the end of the day the hunters would gather at her feet as they had over the centuries, and feel protected by her imposing stature. Mother became known as “Mother of the Forest” as she was recognized as the tallest tree in the forest. It’s not that she was worshiped by the hunters, but instead, she embodied what they felt was the spirit of the forest.
Her species name is Sequoia Sempervirens, an evergreen. This is the tallest living tree on earth, reaching up to 379 feet and 29 feet in diameter. These trees are among the oldest living things on Earth.
My story begins in 1 AD. This was the year that my spirit came onto the earth. My seed was within a seed cone along with 5 other seeds. We were high up in Mother’s branches and it was mid winter with a strong warm breeze spreading down the mountains. The Santa Ana winds were strong that night and they caused my seed cone to burst open and I flew out on wings propelling me into the air and down the mountain side with my fellow seeds. At the time of my flight there appeared a bright yellow/ orange light in the sky. The light streaked across the sky emitting a fiery light with an orange tail. Mother had said this usually happened on a regular basis every 75 years or so. It was later to be called The Star of Bethlehem or Halley's Comet.
I flew with the wind and settled in warm moist earth in a sheltered valley. Here I commenced to grow at a startling rate. My growth was nurtured by the warm Santa Ana winds, the cool evenings and bright warm days with a moist fog during the night and early morning. Mostly everything went well in my life and each day passed the same as before. Occasional the sky would light up with lighting and it would strike the earth. As a young tree, this was not a good thing as it burned up my brother trees. Somehow, I escaped this calamity and in later years I found the forest fires a good thing as it cleared out the under growth and gave me room to spread my branches, so to speak. Besides the lighting strikes, the only other thing that disturbed my tranquility was that every century or so the earth would shake and cause some of my older brethren to topple. These were called earthquakes and occurred along a mountain range where I grew. This was in the Saint Andreas mountain range and it was plagued with these earth tremors. I had a very strong root system, so I was not affected.
During my formative years a tragedy struck. A massive lighting strike hit Mother and destroyed her trunk. It is often said that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, then, will a noise be created. I can tell you that there was an enormous crash as Mother fell to the earth and I was saddened. The natives came that year and saw Mother laying on her side and they were in awe of her size and made camps in her tree limbs for many years. They grieved that her spirit was no longer with them.
As I grew taller and stronger, the natives came to visit me and to share my spirit. They called me “Son of Mother of the Forest”. My siblings have names like Lost Monarch, General Sherman, Sir Isaac Newton, Bull Creek Giant. The natives would hunt for deer under my canopy of leaves and make camp fires to cook their food. The natives were usually clothed in the animal skins that they hunted. During the 13th-15th century, new tribes gathered beneath my boughs to celebrate new customs. These people were dressed in cloaks and head dresses of feathers and had gold bracelets and necklaces. They were called Aztecs and came from the country to the south, which someday would be called Mexico.
We lived in tranquility with the native people. Unfortunately, around the 15th century, men came in ships from across the seas and rode into the forests on four-legged large animals called horses, which I had never seen before. These men were dressed differently than the natives. They had shiny metal hats, breast plates and carried swords, spears and firearms. The fire arms were used to kill the forest animals for food and made a deafening and horrible sound. I was frightened. These men, called Spanish Conquistadors, got into conflict with the Aztecs and killed them , stealing their gold and silver jewelry. We were saddened by these events and the natives no longer came to gather beneath my protective limbs.
We now jump forward to the 19th century which was a period of turmoil and travesty for the forest inhabitants and myself. Men from the East came into the forest and mountains looking for gold and wood. They found little gold, but the wood forests were immense. The men had an enormous appetite for the giant redwood trees. They found that our wood was resistant to rot and they cut us down to be used in building houses in their cities, ties and lumber for their bridges and railways . They would strip the bark from our trunks and let us die. Then they would cut us down using 24 foot wood saws. This continued for many years until 95 % of the redwood trees were gone. In the 1920’s the government leaders recognized that the trees needed to be protected and they established state parks and the trees were allowed to grow again.
My time on earth came to an end and I too was cut down. I had lived for over 1900 years. I was gone, but not my spirit. However, a piece of my wood was given to the woodturner to craft into a magnificent pen where my spirit resides today.