So….. how do you know a tree was a really popular and important tree to the people of the central valley 480 years ago?

What do ya think? Seriously.

 

This. This is how you can tell it was a very important tree 480 years ago… Because Cortez’s Merry band of killers came rolling down the valley singing

“All the neato thingies (All the neato thingies)”
“All the neato thingies (All the neato thingies)”
“All the neato thingies (All the neato thingies)”

And the accompanying priests, et al, chimed in at just the right time….

“Cause if you like it, I gonna put a church on it”
“Don’t be mad, just accept a church on it”
“My God is better cause I get to put a church on it”

and so on, and so on… If it is an old old church, better believe it is a good bet there is something indigenous under it or right next to it.

 

Josh and I went here today. I will go wash dishes while ya google it.

Kinda locally known as El Árbol del Tule, or even That big ass tree over there, I will call the tree Pat, because Pat. It is easier to say.

Pat is a Montozuma Cypress Tree. Cypress trees love the shit outta some water. Pat grew up around water, but things happened, and the water pretty much left a long time ago. Pat, having matured by then, got over it and kept growing anyway, showing water that it could get along just fine without, thank you very much.

(ok, I will translate my story for you. Montozuma Cypress Trees do really like to be in marshy areas. The Oaxacan Central to Eastern Valley used to be very marshy, and thus a lot of cypress trees grew. With people, and eventual farming, the marshes pretty much dried up, and there became fewer an fewer cypress trees, especially Montozuma Cypress trees.)

 

 

“Pat” is shy about it’s age though. People claim Pat has told them roots first happened 1200 years ago, and others 3000 years ago, and even others 6000 years ago.

There is a plaque that says over 2000 years, but that may just be Jesus envy talking there.

Pat is pretty special, though, and has been for a long ass time. People have used parts of Pat and Pats family for a whole host of things, like”

Shade, duh. Shade is much more to the indigenous than just hiding from the sun.

Planted as pretty trees long before the Spanish came oer and fucked things up

Shady pretty trees in Mexico City… well, before it was known as Mexico City of course. But still, planted along processional routes in deference to the the importance of the area. Think Avenue des Champs-Élysées only with better tasting food. 

Centerpieces for artificial islands. Yes. Peeps would build square islands around the trees so they could hang out under them.

Again, the shady, pretty trees were also used to line canals way before the Spanish showed up.

Centerpieces for botanical gardens way back in the day. (Oh, fun fact: Botanical Gardens? Yeah, that was a Mexico gig to begin with. Let that sink in a bit)

It’s a big house making an furniture making wood, cause there generally is a shit ton of it to go around.

And other mundane things like health stuff, including:

Resin to treat gout, ulcers, skin diseases, wounds, and toothaches.

Some boiled down stuff to make ya pee more and to regulate menstruation and other girly stuff.

Pitch to help with bronchitis (thinking this may be better left un-figured out)

The leaves were somehow used as a relaxant and itchy relief…. huh…. weir, but ok.

So Pat and Pats kin was an important part of Mexican culture for a long ass time.

 

I mean, I get it… I just held hands/leaves for a moment with Pat, and gotta say, I was pretty relaxed.

Oh shit, I almost forgot, I had Josh Thompson with me…. here Josh is taking a picture of his boots with Pat. Josh has a whole Instagram thing for his boots and their travels, so this scene is not as weird for us as it may be for others walking around.

That’s great, Trä, but what makes Pat so special? Special enough to be called “The Tree of a Town”?

Well, beyond being shady, pretty, resin-y, pitch-y and special leaf-y, Pet is big. Like freakishly big, like OMG big…

How big? Glad you asked…

Pat is big. Pat actually sports the stoutest tree trunk in the world. Hold on, I will save you a step here:

stout (comparative stouter, superlative stoutest)

Large; bulky.
Synonyms: thickset, corpulent, fat

Just for the record, I did not a “fat” google did….

Keep on keeping on to see just how damn big Pat is.

 

Stats coming at ya here.

While it is never nice to talk about a ladies (or gentlemen’s) weight, I will break protocol with Pat’s permission to say that best guess, Pat tips the scales at about 637,000 tons. yes, you read that right…

Pat has a circumference of about 137 feet. 137 FEET!
An a diameter of 46 feet. (Yes, the trunk is pretty foldy at the bottom, so the scientists ha to come up with a “smoothed out trunk” measurement, which comes out to 30.8 ft, or about a foot more than the second stoutest trunk in the world, up California way coming in at 29.2 ft.

Unfathomable stats. Don’t even know where to put them in my brain.

This is why I come back to Tule often. This tree is the shit, period. Don’t believe me? Come on own, if you aren’t as impressed as I am, I will personally refund your 10 peso entrance fee.

 

Not everyone is a fan of Pat evidently…

And that, my friends, is why Josh traveled with me in a stuffed collectivo out to Tule today. So he could get a picture of his boots with a big ass tree named (by me) Pat. Goo night.

Tomorrow, we will eat all of the food at a buffet that has a real DC-3 hanging out in the yard as a playground / kid movie theater. Truth

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