The glory and splendor of a tree is an awesome sight.
You know what I’m saying. We’ve all been there, standing in awe, gazing up, marveling upon a tall, straight, full tree as it sways in the breeze, gently singing its soothing song of peace and goodness to the land. The creatures of the earth and birds of all sizes, designs and colors finding refuge in its thick, life-sustaining foliage.
We look upon the Maple – the Beech – the Sycamore and the mighty Oak as they rise upwards – 60 – 80 – even a hundred feet towards the light, and we marvel at their strength and beauty. They stand firm and steady against the winds, rains and hails that batter them. Their roots go down deep into the ground, 20 -40 even 80 feet to anchor them securely to the earth, holding them tight against the storms of life.
They stand alone – firmly and confidently.
But, even with such strength and depth, sometimes, under the power of the assault, they bend and give – their roots slowly breaking apart from the earth and when the storm blows hard, even those deep roots cannot bear the strain and they pull up from the earth and a mighty tree falls, crashing to the ground in a loud, agonizing roar of despair. And the world groans.
Towering above all other trees, straight and majestic, rise the Sequoia Redwoods. They stretch upwards, reaching high into the heavens. Not 80, not a 100, not even 200 feet, but over 300 feet they rise! Greater than the length of a football field! Imagine laying a single tree across the entire length of the Super Bowl and then raising it up to reach into the sky.
Some reach into the heavens taller than the Statue of Liberty, exceeding heights of 375 feet. They obtain massive circumferences with diameters in excess of twenty feet; laden with heavy, coarse bark 20 inches thick that defies modern engineering by miraculously pumping over 250 gallons of water a day upwards into the heights to feed its rich foliage in the heavens.
Not only are they the tallest trees in the world – they are the largest living things in the world, and they live for hundreds – even thousands of years.
When the storms come, they are the first and the last to be battered. Rising above all those below, they receive the strongest attack – feel the harshest assault as the winds and gales toss and rip at their crowning heads, bending them to the power of their might. Smaller trees, far below, bend, crack, snap and break, pulling out from the earth, not able to withstand the rage and fury of the storm.
When the storm subsides – the Redwood stands firm and proud, rejoicing in its glory.
Why does this giant of the earth not succumb to the storm?
How does it remain standing two – three – even four times taller than those that could not bear the storm’s fury?
The answer can only lie in its roots – which must go deeper into the earth than all the other trees. Ah! There is a lesson for us here! In order to become strong we must reach deep into the earth, clinging hard to withstand the storms of this world.
But – upon examination – we are in awe – we are dumbfounded – we are aghast!
The roots only go into the earth four – five – six feet. They are shallow – This massive monster of nature, towering over 300 feet and weighting over 3,000,000 pounds – is anchored to the earth by a mere five feet! How can this be? It defies logic – physics - engineering – and life as we understand it.
What is its secret to survival and majesty?
So we look closer and we find the secret – it was there all along.
The roots, although not deep, spread out hundreds of feet around the tree. They intertwine, tangle, knot and lock with the roots of the other trees around it, that are doing the same thing, until for miles it’s a single woven mat of thick, living roots. They support and hold one another firmly in place. If one weakens, the others grab and lock themselves around it to hold it and keep it upright.
But there’s more. The roots actually begin fusing together, forming common roots that share, feed and give life to one another.
Once established – the Redwood tree is not solitary – stand-alone but is part of a community – united – bound together – supporting and sustaining one another. Only internal decay within a tree can destroy it.
I wonder – what would our world be like – if we were Redwoods?
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are