We live in an area that has many trees and I can imagine that, a few hundred years ago, it could well have been heavily forested around here. While we do appreciate trees, it is so easy to take them for granted. There are so many people who never think about them, except perhaps when complaining about the root structure interfering with their garden, or perhaps the shedding that happens in the Fall.
Carol and I were sitting out in our back garden, and Ray had curled up under a plant to stay cool. We had been discussing “our” tree (a huge Maple) at the bottom of our garden in the context of its size, and the damage it could do if it fell down.
The conversation drifted to its dimensions, and we agreed that the trunk was probably a little over 5ft in diameter … which prompted the question “Can you remember how to calculate a circumference?” Therein followed speculations about n (where n = pi) r2 and 2nr.
The discussion moved to radius vs diameter … and generally confirmed to both of us that the “use it or lose it” perspective about life and aging is pretty accurate. Whereas both of us have regularly used math since leaving school so many years ago, it would appear that neither of us have had cause to use pi in any calculations.
Having Googled for information about pi, the conversation came to the not too surprising question of “Can we now calculate the age of our Maple tree?” A quick request to Prof. Google and our tree, based on its circumference, is around 200 years old!
Believe it or not, the conversation continued because we now wanted to know what our location was like when the Maple seedling was rooting! Prof Google soon gave us a brief overview of our town in the early 1800’s, and there would appear to have been no development in our immediate area at that time. Perhaps “our tree” is one of the few survivors of a forest?
Pi , history and trees … who would have ever known!