To Be In Their Midst Is To Touch An Aspect Of The Eternal
On a recent visit to Santa Cruz, California, I was walking the Redwood Grove Nature Trail at the spectacular Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The redwoods along this 0.8 mile trail are as large and as beautiful as any along the California coast.
The trail guide was full of interesting facts about these amazing trees. I learned that the scientific name for the Coast Redwood is Sequoia sempervirens. Sempervirens means ever-living because these trees have amazing survival adaptions which make them seem eternal.
In addition to being the world's tallest trees, often reaching 300 feet, they repel fire and disease. Most fires cannot penetrate redwood bark which is 7 to 12 inches thick, fibrous and heat resistant. Even if an intense fire burns through the bark and eventually hollows out the tree, the tree will continue to live and slowly heal the fire scar if sufficient living tissue remains undamaged.
A common sight in the Coast Redwood forest are large numbers of circular groups of trees called cathedrals. The trail guide explained that a redwood can sprout new trees from its roots on all sides. It is the only conifer or cone bearing tree to do so. These young trees eventually mature encircling the parent tree.
I learned that as the roots of the cathedral trees mature, they spread out, mingle and fuse together, which helps them to withstand strong winds. I couldn't help but think about the incredible picture of strength that emerges as these trees intertwine and grow together!
Nature once again provides a living illustration of Ecclesiastes chapter 4, verses 10-12, which says, Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
The Coast Redwoods are a powerful reminder that it is wise to STAND together and BAND together. Even when strong winds blow, there is safety in numbers!