The first day I came to stand before a true giant, I had gotten there through hours of misery riding a winding road through the Northern California countryside. Carsick, with bronchitis and a sinus infection I hadn’t been able to shake for weeks, I felt like misery herself. When we finally rounded the bend into the shade of the coastal redwoods, we pulled off at the first place we came to and stumbled out of the car.

It took just moments to step across the shady needle-carpeted ground and stare up in awe at the closest tree to the road, to gaze up into its canopy far above our heads and reckon it was ‘big.