Bald cypress stands serene, mirrored on the still surface of Merchants Millpond.
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There is something wonderfully serene about the trunks of bald cypress rising from the still water of Merchants Millpond like soaring columns of a gothic cathedral. Like prayers, they bridge the gap between heaven and earth.
In Greek mythology, the cypress tree was associated with death, rebirth, and eternity. The Greeks knew nothing of the bald cypress, but it may better represent those concepts than the ones they knew.
Bald cypress trees lose their needles each winter and grow them again in spring. They are deciduous conifers which seem contradictory. By definition, conifers are evergreen. Bald cypress are also the oldest trees on the east coast of the continent.
In the Three Sisters Swamp of the Black River, North Carolina, lives a bald cypress at least 2,624 years old, probably older. Its upper limbs are truncated, shorn by centuries of storms. Its trunk is gnarled and burled. There are hollows between its old roots that first gripped the earth in the 6th Century before the Christian era when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and created the hanging gardens in Babylon.
That is a tree worthy of mythology.
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