Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "To Repair the Damage of the Lumberman"

This poem is spillover from the January 8, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "giant anything" square in my 9-30-18 card for the Fall Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] fuzzyred. It belongs to the Big One thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"To Repair the Damage of the Lumberman"

[Saturday, July 2, 2016]

Dr. Infanta and Lorry
landed in Muir Woods.

Fog still hung in the air, and
the temperature was on the rise,
making the place hot and muggy.

Lorry was already sweating in his suit,
even though it was summer linen.

Dr. Infanta was perfectly comfortable
in her cotton play dress printed with
flowers and mathematical symbols.

Sienna Mullen met them on the path
in her crisp khaki ranger uniform, and
they exchanged brisk introductions.

"So, let's go meet your tree friend,"
Dr. Infanta said, skipping down the path.

Sienna managed to get ahead of her
and soon led them to a huge tree.
"This is Stillsand, our local superhero,"
she said. "Stillsand, meet Dr. Infanta
and Lorry. They're here to ask about
restoring redwoods from stumps."

If it happens, it happens,
a voice rumbled through them.
What is there to talk about?

"If any part of a stump is still alive,
I can make the tree grow back
very fast," Dr. Infanta said. "I also
know some people skilled with cloning,
outside of the project that got shut down.
For something this big and public, though,
I want to be careful about consent."

?? said Stillsand, clearly confused.

So there went ten minutes as Sienna
tried to explain the concepts of consent,
human sexuality, and laws giving people
an explicit right to refuse to reproduce.

"Plants are different from human beings,"
Sienna added to her guests. "They don't
choose sexual partners the same way
that we do, so consent doesn't work
the same way for them. They don't think
about body integrity the same way either,
because they're much more aware of
being a mini-ecosystem than we are."

In the end, Stillsand simply said,
It is better to live than to die.

"Thank you, that will do nicely,"
Dr. Infanta said with a curtsey.
"Sienna, what do you think?"

"The redwood is one of
the few conifers that sprout
from the stump and roots, and
it declares itself willing to begin
immediately to repair the damage
of the lumberman and also that of
the forest-burner," said Sienna.
"I say you should fix what we broke."

"Okay, we're committed," Dr. Infanta said.
"We have an invitation to do a test project
at Shinrin-yoku. If that pans out, people
with Plant Powers or Time Powers could
help those old trees to regrow quickly."

"If there really are a lot of redwood stumps
all over California, then the reforestation is
limited mainly by personnel with relevant skills,"
Lorry added with a nod. "A magnet project could
easily draw in more people to support itself."

"That would be wonderful," Sienna said. "I'll
notify the cloning project of consent, so maybe
they can restart. We need more redwoods,
and they deserve to live again if possible."

Come and visit me again, Many Rings,
said Stillsand. We will breathe the fog
and remember the world that was

Dr. Infanta's skin prickled with
goosebumps, and she realized that
Stillsand must be older than her.

The only other person like that
was Aidan. It would be so nice
to know someone else, even if
their old memories were from
totally different continents.

"I'll come back when I can,"
Dr. Infanta promised.

From there it was just
a short hop to Shinrin-yoku.

"Welcome," said the tall woman.
"I'm Moriko Kita and this is my coworker,
Hina Miyamoto." She waved a hand
at the shorter woman whose hair
was dark brown instead of black.

"Dr. Infanta, and my teleporter
is Lorry," said the girl. "Can you
fill in more details about your project?
We didn't get that far in email."

"After the Cascadia Cataclysm,
many people left never to return,"
Moriko said. "So there's a lot of
empty land along the coast now.
The government has been bundling
that together for everything from
nature reserves to tribal restitution."

"That's going to be popular,"
Dr. Infanta said at the same time
Lorry said, "That'll get complicated."

"In some cases, they're buying or trading
land elsewhere to unite scattered pieces,
like geographic defragging," Hina chimed in.
That makes it relatively straightforward to create
new national lands to protect the restored forests."

"Okay, how does that connect with you and
your forest-bathing business?" Dr. Infanta asked.

"We had several plots previously, and we're buying
more as fast as we can," Moriko said. "Most of
the new property is in Mill Valley. A lot of retirees
want out, and we're helping them achieve that."

"Then the government helps us bundle the lots,
or trade them," Hina said. "Everyone wins."

"Where do I come in?" Dr. Infanta said.
"You just mentioned that earlier project
to clone redwoods from old stumps, and
said that I could do it faster -- which I can."

"You can heal the old trees, start new ones,
and boost growth in young ones," Hina said.
"One big challenge of restoring redwoods
is that it takes time to gain enough height
to catch fog, and they struggle without it."

"This meshes nicely with everyone
grabbing the chance to launch
large-scale environmental restoration
to repair environmental damages,"
Moriko explained. "This will offer us
a major opportunity after the earthquakes."

"Exactly," Hina said. "People are protecting
watersheds to restore salmon, and hillsides
to reduce erosion, and more things like that.
Redwoods are terraformers, which means they
have extra impact. With superpowers it becomes
possible to make big improvements faster."

Dr. Infanta nodded. "That all makes sense.
Okay, I'll give you proof of concept. I won't
be able to do a whole lot, though, unless
you have an energy source for me."

She was still pretty tapped from
all the extra healing she had to do
after the Cascadia Cataclysm.

"That's where I come in," Hina said
with a smile. "I can gather ambient energy,
and in a thriving environment like a forest or
even just scattered redwoods around here ...
well, let me give you a demonstration."

She dropped into lotus position
and then closed her eyes.

A moment later, sparkles
appeared in the air around her.

They quickly thickened into
scarves of gold and purple light
until the air blazed like foggy dawn.

"Wow," Dr. Infanta said, reaching out
to touch it. Energy fizzed and rippled
through her skin from the contact. "Wow!"

"All I'm doing is scooping up some energy
and letting it spill right back out again,"
Hina said. "That makes it more perceptible
to other people. Can you make use of it?"

"Ohh, yes," Dr. Infanta said. She had
to remind herself not to poach the tour guide.

Moriko showed them a cluster of yards
with redwoods or the stumps of redwoods
that they had managed to acquire.

There were some big old stumps
in one area -- obviously old growth --
and then a wide swath of smaller ones
amongst tufts of smaller plants.

"Woah, what happened here?"
Dr. Infanta said, staring at it.

"This house used to belong to
a retired couple who once ran
a garden center," Hina said.
"They went a little overboard
on the firebreak. Then after
the earthquake, they decided
to move east, following their kids."

"Can you tell if any of these stumps
are still alive?" Moriko asked.

Dr. Infanta wandered over to
one of the fresher stumps,
weathered but not rotted.

She put her hand on it for
a moment, then shook her head.
"This one's dead." She moved
on down. "This one is too.
Wait, this one's alive!"

It was just upslope from
the driveway, and shaped
almost like a dinosaur track with
a round heel and three pointy toes.

Hina folded gracefully to the ground
and summoned her power again.

This time the green-gold energy
was dotted with pink instead of
skeins of purple, but it still felt
rich and fizzy in the air.

Dr. Infanta grabbed onto it
and stuffed it into the stump.

Very quickly, green balls began
to appear at the points of the stump,
and more around the heel and in the yard.

Suddenly they all burst into green feathers.

Moriko and Hina cheered. "You did it!"
They hugged each other, then Dr. Infanta.

"Is that supposed to happen?" Dr. Infanta said,
pointing at the fronds. "Those look more
like ferns than like baby trees."

"Yes, that's the way redwoods
regenerate," said Hina. "They put up
sprouts from stumps or roots."

"Can you give me a minute for
a little thinning?" Moriko said.
"Normally the sprouts compete
until only the strongest few survive,
but we can speed it up a bit."

"Sure, go ahead," said Dr. Infanta.

Moriko carefully trimmed away
the weaker sprouts, leaving one
at each point and a few more
along the back of the stump.

"When they do this in nature,
then it's called a 'fairy ring' or
a 'cathedral' of redwoods,"
Moriko explained. "So we
know how to help it along.
Okay, it's your turn again."

With fewer sprouts to feed,
now the energy channeled
into much tighter streams, and
the sprouts stretched slowly up
until they stood about seven feet tall.

"I think they're full," Dr. Infanta said.
"They don't want to grow anymore
right now, and I don't want to push."

"Seven feet is about a year's growth
for cuttings or vigorous sprouts,"
Moriko said. "You did well."

"Let's try the bigger ones,"
Dr. Infanta said, turning that way.

She shifted to a huge old stump
that had been cut flat to the ground
with ceramic pots all over it.

"Alive!" she crowed. "Somebody
help me move this crap off of it."

Everyone pitched in and soon the pots
had been relocated onto the lawn.

Dr. Infanta pressed her palms
to the weathered wood and
reached down to coax life
from the ancient root system.

Suddenly a single sprout shot up
from a root near the trunk. Instead
of stopping, it grabbed more power
from her, then reached out to draw
even more from the surrounding soil.

Dr. Infanta scrambled out of the way.

Within minutes, a new tree as thick
as her thigh stood over twenty feet tall.

"Wow, that one got big fast!" said Hina,
staring up at the distant crown.

"It's the root system," said Dr. Infanta.
"This thing is huge, so it has a lot
feeding into it. I got it started, and
then it woke up and grabbed
everything in reach."

Overhead, the scales
of spring green deepened
slowly to the normal color.

"Ah, I was wondering if it would
do that or stay albino," Moriko said.

"Albino trees?" Dr. Infanta said.

"Yes, there are several kinds, from
pale green to white," Moriko said.
"Redwoods can survive that way,
while most other plants can't. If
you like, I'll show you one later."

"Yes, please," Dr. Infanta said.
As she watched, the twigs above
swayed and whispered in the breeze.

An odd creaking, groaning sound
came from the slender tree.

Hina giggled. "It sounds like
it's yawning!" she said.

"Maybe it is," Lorry said,
pointing to the stump. "If it
didn't die when the original trunk
was cut, maybe it just ... slept."

"And now it's waking up,"
Dr. Infanta said. "That's cool.
Hey, Mr. Tree! Welcome back!"

A mental voice rumbled through
their minds. Two-Legs. Welcome.

"They can talk?!" yelped Moriko.

"Well yeah," said Dr. Infanta. "We just
came here from Muir Woods. It's where
we got permission to try this in the first place.
Stillsand is the only one I knew of, though."

"Do you have a name? Do you need
anything now?" Hina asked, looking up.

What they got back was an image of
clouds, and then, Rainmaker. Thirsty.

"No problem," Moriko said. "I'll go
grab some hose from the garage.
The Bollens left us a bunch of
their old gardening gear."

"I uh ... don't think that's
necessary," Lorry said quietly,
then pointed. "Look up."

They looked up.

A cloud was gathering
around the highest fronds.

As they watched, it thickened,
and then other wisps of fog began
to appear in nearby copses.

The fog spread, leaping from
tree to tree like a crown fire,
but cool and wet instead
of hot and burning.

Within minutes it had
covered the suburb, and
a thick haze veiled the ground.

Droplets of water pattered down
from the branches above them,
first a few, then more and more.

"Rainmaker," Hina whispered.

"Oh, shit," Dr. Infanta said.
She punched in a vddress on
her vidwatch. "Hello, SPOON?
The fog bank over Mill Valley is
not an attack, I repeat, not an attack."

"But it came out of nowhere and it's
spreading fast!" the dispatcher protested.

"Yeah well, I woke up a redwood. He's
thirsty, and he didn't feel like waiting
for us to get a hose," Dr. Infanta said.
"It won't hurt anything, it's just water.
You might want to pass the word to
your superheroes, because people
out here are still pretty twitchy."

"I'll let them know," said the dispatcher.

Lorry unfolded an umbrella and said,
"Perhaps we should find rain gear
before continuing our work, miss?"

Dr. Infanta giggled. "I won't melt."
She twirled in place, her skirt flaring
despite getting increasingly damp.
"Besides, I'm about done for the day."

"If you can boost a few trees at a time,
that's still a huge help," Moriko said.
"Redwoods support each other. We
can make or restore groves that will
nurture everything planted around them."

"I'll do my best," Dr. Infanta said.
"We have proof of concept, anyway.
Now you can put out a call for everyone
with Plant Powers, Time Powers, or
other ways of enhancing growth."

"We will," Hina said. "I'm looking forward
to expanding our forest-bathing services
now that we have more area to explore."

"Yeah, the first responders on
the coast will need all the relaxation
that they can get," Dr. Infanta said.

"Would you like to see one of
our albinos before you go?"
Moriko said. "They're rare, but
we have a few here in Mill Valley."

"Sure, that sounds like fun,"
Dr. Infanta said. Then she patted
the new tree beside them. "I'm glad
that I could help you, Rainmaker.
Stillsand calls me Many Rings. I'll
come back and visit when I can."

Warm emotion rippled over them,
and it rained even harder.

"Next time, I'll know to bring
a raincoat, too!" Dr. Infanta said.

"All right, everyone grab on,"
Lorry said, holding out his arms.

They all obeyed, but Moriko said,
"Are you sure you can carry all of
us as once? Aren't we heavy?"

Lorry snorted. "You're not as
heavy as a horse, and I carry
Judd all the time. But thanks for
thinking of me," he said. "Okay,
somebody give me coordinates."

Moriko did so, and a moment later
they all stood in another suburb.

"We've been mapping the redwoods
here now that they're protected," Hina said.
"This is one of our special favorites."

Dr. Infanta stared at the line of
creamy fronds that sprouted from
the ground, some as tall as her shoulder.

"Wow," she breathed. "It really is albino!"

"This kind is a mutation that forms from
root or stump shoots," Hina explained.
"Look closely." She knelt down and
parted the fronds. "See how they're
all growing from this root where it pokes
above the soil? They're part of a new tree."

"It's beautiful," Dr. Infanta said. She touched it
with a tentative finger. "Oh, that is so weird!
Why's it pulling in all the heavy metals? There's
a lot of lead, some arsenic and mercury ..."

"Lead?" Hina exclaimed. "Where
could that be coming from?"

"Old paint, gasoline, all kinds
of things," Dr. Infanta said with
a shrug. "Just because people
aren't using them anymore, doesn't
make all the bad stuff go away. Once
it gets into the soil, it tends to stick."

"My grandmother's people, the Pomo,
call these 'spirit trees' because they have
special powers," said Moriko. "They can
draw poisons out of the earth and lock them
safely away. But they can't feed themselves,
because their spirit power turns their fronds white.
They depend wholly on other trees to feed them."

Dr. Infanta looked around. They were standing
in a copse of second-growth redwoods, some
of them already larger than a person could
reach around, mingled with smaller trees
and bushes of various other species.

She scuffed the ground with her shoe,
stirring the fluffy bits of red-brown bark
that the surrounding trees had shed.

Soon her foot snagged on the edge
of an old stump buried under the mulch.

Dr. Infanta bent down to revive the tree,
and she actually felt the odd twist
that turned the budding fronds white.

"Ooo!" Hina exclaimed, and Mariko
said something in what was probably Pomo.

Meanwhile Dr. Infanta was struggling
to keep the poor thing alive, because it
didn't have the vibrant chlorophyll of
a normal tree, and while the root system
was still there it was no longer meshed
very well with the trees around it.

Finally she managed to weave it into
the surrounding network. Redwoods were
pretty good at grafting their roots, you just
had to coax them into it sometimes.

From the battered old stump rose
a single delicate sapling that
reached to Dr. Infanta's hip.

"I've logged this one for support,"
Hina said. "We'll check on it and
provide extra help if necessary.
Thank you so much for doing this!"

Dr. Infanta touched the fragile scales
with her fingertips. She remembered
watching woodcutters hack their way
across the forests of Europe.

"Don't thank me," she said softly.
"I'm just doing my part to repair
the damage of the lumbermen."

* * *


Sienna Mullen -- She has pale skin with freckles, brown eyes, and long reddish-brown hair with just a little wave. She is tall and slim with a long face. Her heritage is primarily Irish and American, with a Marin Miwok great-grandfather. She speaks English, Spanish, and a little bit of Marin Miwok. Sienna graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Earth Science plus minors in Native American Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies. She lives in the Panoramic neighborhood of Mill Valley in Marin County, California. Due to the proximate assistance from Muir Woods, this area has sustained the least damage from the earthquake, leaving utilities intact or barely impaired. This makes it a precious refuge in a region battered by disasters. Sienna works as a park ranger in Muir Woods. She enjoys doing studies in the woods and leading programs such as the Junior Rangers.
Origin: She always had a subclinical sensitivity to nature, but after contact with two nonhuman species during the Cascadia Cataclysm, she manifested Nature Communication.
Uniform: On duty, she wears the Muir Woods ranger uniform of khaki shirt and pants with a broadbrimmed hat. Off duty, she typically wears practical clothes in earth tones.
Qualities: Good (+2) Leader, Good (+2) Muir Woods Ranger, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Peacemonger, Good (+2) Tall
Poor (-2) Dislikes Loud Noise
Powers: Average (0) Nature Communication
Sienna can communicate primarily with plants and animals, sometimes in words, more often in feelings. She has a more tenuous awareness of other features such as rocks or streams.
Motivation: To protect nature and teach people about it.

"It is known that the Native Americans living in the area which later became Marin County were Miwoks. The Miwok were, for the most part, coastal dwellers. The largest centers of population were located near present-day Bolinas, Sausalito and San Rafael, because these areas put them close to a dependable food supply of clams, mussels, limpets and acorns. Most likely the Miwoks never lived in Muir Woods; however, it is probable that they did pass through the area and, on occasion, hunt in this vicinity."

In Local-America, most of the coast tribes were wiped out due to genocide in the invasion of Turtle Island; somewhat more remain in Terramagne-America. The Marin Miwok have a rancheria that occupies the white space between Muir Woods, Marin Municipal Water District Mount Tamalpais Watershed, and the Mill Valley neighborhoods of Panoramic, Edgewood-Cypress, Lovell Avenue, and Blithedale Canyon / Middle Ridge. That's about 46 acres. California rancherias tend to be quite small compared to reservations in other states. See a map of Marin County for context. Compare this with the history of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, formerly known as the Federated Coast Miwok

In T-America, the Coast Miwok language has survived, although it doesn't have many speakers. Marin and Bodega are two related dialects of Coast Miwok.

The Junior Ranger Program includes some nifty resources such as a Junior Ranger Booklet and quest project. Activities have evolved over the years; I can remember doing some things when I visited in the 1980s. Decades later, here I am still sticking up for the redwoods.

The Panoramic neighborhood of Mill Valley in Marin County, California has many redwoods of its own. Due to the proximate assistance from Muir Woods, this area has sustained the least damage from the earthquake, leaving utilities intact or barely impaired. This makes it a precious refuge in a region battered by disasters.

Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science Courses
EPS 50 The Planet Earth 4
Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics
and Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics
Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and Physics for Scientists and Engineers

EPS 102 History and Evolution of Planet Earth 4
EPS 117 Geomorphology 4
EPS 150 Case Studies in Earth Systems 2
ENE,RES 102 Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems 4

ESPM 130A Forest Hydrology 4
GEOG 143 Global Change Biogeochemistry 3
INTEGBI C155 Holocene Paleoecology: How Humans Changed the Earth 3
INTEGBI 159 The Living Planet: Impact of the Biosphere on the Earth System 3

Minor in Native American Studies Courses
Native American Studies 110
NATAMST C152 001 | CCN: 22657 Native American Literature by Beth Piatote
NATAMST R1A 001 | CCN: 22662 Native American Studies Reading and Composition
NATAMST 100 001 | CCN: 22668 Native American Law by Joseph Myers
NATAMST 90 001 | CCN: 22671 Freshman Seminar--Myth, Memory and History by Diane Pearson
NATAMST 105 001 | CCN: 30985 Indigenous Issues Across the Americas by Enrique Lima
NATAMST 175 001 | CCN: 22686 History of Native Americans in California by JoEllen Anderson

Sienna's research project featured West Coast tribal lore about the natural world. In the first semester H195A, she gathered stories and compared versions from different tribes. In the second semester H195B, she designed a presentation of tribal stories to park visitors in hopes of raising environmental awareness. She also earned honors credit for her study of the Marin Miwok language. In L-Berkeley, the language preservation program is for graduate students, but in T-Berkeley anyone can take it.

Minor in Peace and Conflict Studies Courses
T-America requires PACS 10: Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (4 units)
PACS 94: Theory and Practice of Meditation (1 unit)
PACS 100 Peace Theory: Approaches and Analyses
PACS 128AC: Human Rights and American Cultures (4 units)
PACS 150AC: Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (3 units)
PACS 151 International Conflict: Analysis and Resolution
PACS 159: Conflict Resolution Intensive Training (3 units)

Hillside Trail leads to Cathedral Grove in Muir Woods National Monument, California. This 2.0 mile loop hike is an easy trail that only takes about an hour.

Based on contemporary photos online, it looks like much of Hillside Trail and Cathedral Grove have been fenced in. When I visited in the 1980s, it was just open woods and the trail was often challenging to find. You just sort of meandered among the giant trees and hoped they wouldn't decide to get you good and lost. In T-America, most of it remains open beyond a short stretch of paved paths around the Visitor Center, but it is well marked.

A sign marks the entrance to Cathedral Grove. Those big-looking trees are mostly juveniles, only a few centuries old.

Redwoods are powerful terraformers. They catch fog and funnel it down to the forest floor, where it runs in streams. Like gigantism, this is a species gift for them, not a superpower.

The forest floor is carpeted with ferns and redwood fronds, under which lies a thick red carpet of shed bark and leaves. It's springy. You can fall on it and bounce.

Stillsand -- Thon is a coast redwood. These trees are monoecious, bearing male (pollen-producing) and female (seed-bearing) cones on different branches of the same tree, so they are all hermaphrodites. Stillsand is around 1100 years old. Thon lives in the Cathedral Grove of Muir Woods, Marin County, California. During the Cascadia Cataclysm, Stillsand led the grove to buffer the earthquake, reducing it from 7.8 to 5.8 in Muir Woods and 6.8 in San Francisco.
Origin: Stillsand manifested superpowers around 1000 years of age, the typical time for redwoods who have them. Thus the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco was slightly buffered down to 7.8 from what would have been 8.0.
Uniform: None. Thon goes nude.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Redwood, Good (+2) Curiosity, Good (+2) Interspecies Diplomacy, Good (+2) Leader
Poor (-2) I Am Not Fast
Powers: Average (0) Earthquake Suppression, Average (0) Interspecies Communication
Motivation: To maintain the forest.

Redwoods enjoy a number of species gifts that are superpowers for most lifeforms. This educational booklet lists some of them. While seedlings are vulnerable to fire, saplings begin to develop Fire Resistance, and mature trees can have bark up to a foot thick which protects from all but the most devastating blazes. Similarly, they develop the Fog Catching ability once they grow to cloud height. If a tree is cut or falls down, it can Regenerate from the stump, creating a type of Immortality. Ring counting only measures the life of a trunk; the actual organism may be much older. En masse, they are powerful Terraformers, shaping the environment to suit their needs and thereby supporting many other species beneath their shelter.

Moriko Kita -- She has golden skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and long straight black hair usually worn loose. Her heritage is Japanese, American, and Pomo. Her grandmother was Pomo. She speaks Chinese, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Kashaya (Southwestern Pomo), and Tagalog. She is 35 years old when the Cascadian Cataclysm happens. Moriko works at Shinrin-yoku, a Japanese-American company that offers nature therapy. The name means "forest bathing." They own several properties in Marin County, California and have recently acquired some with redwoods. As a tour guide, Moriko specializes in tourists who don't speak English.
Qualities: Good (+2) Humility, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Peacemaking, Good (+2) Tall, Good (+2) Tour Guide
Poor (-2) Saying No to Family

A disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride.

Kashaya belongs to the Pomoan languages spoken by the Pomo people. See a map of California tribes.

Hina Miyamoto -- She has golden skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and long straight brown hair typically pulled back in a ponytail. Her heritage is Japanese-American; she speaks English, Japanese, and Spanish. She is 19 years old when the Cascadian Cataclysm happens. Hina works at Shinrin-yoku, a Japanese-American company that offers nature therapy. The name means "forest bathing." They own several properties in Marin County, California and have recently acquired some with redwoods. As a tour guide, Hina leads classes in meditation, yoga, and T'ai Chi.
Origin: As a little girl, Hina saw "fairy lights" and followed them into the redwood forest. When her worried parents found her hours later, she had superpowers.
Uniform: She wears practical girl clothes, often in pastel shades.
Qualities: Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Flexible, Good (+2) Serenity, Good (+2) Soothing Presence, Good (+2) Tour Guide
Poor (-2) Dealing with Abrasive People
Powers: Good (+2) Energy Manipulation
Hina can gather ambient energy from the world around her, especially from a thriving ecosystem such as a forest. She can use it herself or let it brush against other people. Often it spills out into a visible light show of pastel colors.
Motivation: Enlightenment through nature.

Etta Bollen -- She has fair skin, blue eyes, and short curly hair of golden blonde. She is 66 at the time of the Cascadian Cataclysm. Etta is the wife of Marcue, mother of 4 children, grandmother of 9 children, and great-grandmother of 1 child. All of their children have moved east: one to Las Vegas, one to the Heights, one to Onion City, and one to Eastbord. Etta and Marcue used to run a garden center before they retired recently. Etta interacting with other people and she belongs to a club that teaches younger women how to be good grandmothers. She is very detail-oriented but worries too much. This led to cutting down many of the redwoods on their property due to fear of wildfires. After the earthquake, they have few ties left to California, so they decide to move out.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fit for Her Age, Good (+2) Gardener, Good (+2) Grandmothers Club, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Meticulous
Poor (-2) Anxiety

Marcue Bollen -- He has fair skin and brown eyes. His short hair used to be light brown and is now white. He is near-sighted and wears glasses. He is 68 at the time of the Cascadian Cataclysm. Marcue is the husband of Etta, father of 4 children, grandfather of 9 children, and great-grandfather of 1 child. All of their children have moved east: one to Las Vegas, one to the Heights, one to Onion City, and one to Eastbord. Etta and Marcue used to run a garden center before they retired recently. Marcue is dutiful and has taken up more work around the house and yard after retiring. He volunteers at the local community center. After the earthquake, they have few ties left to California, so they decide to move out.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dutiful, Good (+2) Fit for His Age, Good (+2) Gardener, Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Volunteer
Poor (-2) Near-Sighted

* * *

"The redwood is one of the few conifers that sprout from the stump and roots, and it declares itself willing to begin immediately to repair the damage of the lumberman and also that of the forest-burner."
-- John Muir, “The American Forests,” August 1897

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese-American company that offers nature therapy. The name means "forest bathing." Guided walks are available, and the home page of the website has short poems on different aspects of restoration. In T-America, there are also open woods days when members can walk through the forest on their own, and daily classes in the visitor center. Their neighbors include a tea house and a small Buddhist temple. Shinrin-yoku is one of the few companies on the West Coast to meet the Cascadia Cataclysm with resilience instead of collapse. None of the employees leave, probably because they're either Japanese or Japanese-American and Japan has a long familiarity with earthquakes and tsunamis. Originally, they offer access to a bamboo forest consisting primarily of temple bamboo with groves of chocolate bamboo and goddess bamboo, along with various other species in the understory. Two other properties feature native Californian forests: one of live oak, California buckeye, and bay laurel; the other with juniper, pine, red alder, white alder, poplar, and willow. After the disaster, Shinrin-yoku buys property in the Panoramic neighborhood of Mill Valley in Marin County, where many elderly residents flee the state never to return. The company then petitions the government for some adjacent properties, focusing on those containing redwood trees. They bundle all the plots together to form a new nature park, which becomes enormously popular with emergency workers, many of whom move into the vacated properties nearby. Due to the proximate assistance from Muir Woods, this area has sustained the least damage from the earthquake, leaving utilities intact or barely impaired. This makes it a precious refuge in a region battered by disasters.

Redwoods can regenerate from stumps. This is a redwood stump in a forest. This one is sprouting new fronds. Redwoods are mini-ecosystems, like the human body only bigger and more complex.

Albino redwoods have little or no chlorophyll, so they produce pale green or white foliage. In Terramagne, albino redwoods have superpowers related to cleansing the earth of heavy-metal toxins that persist in the environment. Some of them can cleanse even more than that -- the air, water, even other creatures -- of all kinds of contaminants. This subset of the species gift Terraforming is rare enough to count as a superpower, but it becomes more common as pollution rises. For this reason, more and more are sprouting now, often as mutated stump shoots attached to a larger tree. Albino redwoods can't produce chlorophyll, so they can't feed themselves; they depend on other trees for sustenance. The Pomo people consider these trees sacred and use them in cleansing ceremonies. Here is a single albino redwood, and these fronds are sprouting from a stump.

Redwoods need a lot of water. They procure much of it by catching fog and making rainclouds. These are species gifts; Rainmaker has a faster version as a superpower.

Explore the differences between old-growth and second-growth forests. Read about the area of old-growth forests on the west coast. This article examines tree growth and death in a second-growth forest. Some projects have aimed to assist second-growth forests in developing toward old-growth characteristics.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gardening, nature, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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