Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Redwoods, Burls and other survival tactics April 15, 2009

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 4:27 am
Tags: , , ,

On our trip to San Francisco we spent an afternoon in Muir Woods and experienced Redwoods.  I was not expecting to be terribly impressed but I can’t stop thinking about them.

I have determined that I have a lot to learn from these trees and I am still in the process of trying to make sense of some of these lessons.  They are of course beautiful and their immense size is of course impressive but their ability to survive is what has stuck with me.

This is a picture of me (cold, as you can tell) standing by a midsection cut from a tree.  They had markers pointing out different “injuries” to the tree that could be noted by different natural markings.  Each one represented an event in the life of the tree such as a fire, or drought, or being struck by lightning or a sickness.  Yet the tree continued to grow.  It made me wonder what our lives would look like if we had a map like that of the difficult or traumatic events that we live through.  Pretty cool…


We would look up at one of these amazing trees and sometimes see a huge, nasty, lumpy, moldy-lookin’ thing hanging from it.  Sometimes at the base of the tree or sometimes hanging out from the tree looking like it could drop on our heads.  These, I learned, are called burls.


This is the handy-dandy explanation I found on one of the markers.  How cool is that?  So when the tree became damaged or died these burls would then come to life and begin growing into its own tree.  And it is genetically the same tree.  These ugly, horrid looking things were full of life!  And one of these gigantic burl things could contain thousands of lifegiving cells.  This is some info I found on the internet about burls…

The redwood burls are another survival strategy. Their growth is held in check by the presence of chemical signals in a living redwood. If the tree should die, or even be stressed, say by low rainfall or fire, the chemical signal weakens or vanishes and the burl will burst forth into verdant life. Burls kept in a shallow pan of water will grow almost indefinitely. They can also continue on to become a full grown redwood tree.

I know I am stretching this but it has made me think about my life and if I am building burls.  Is my life reproducing itself in positive ways around me?  I love the part about, “their growth is held in check” and “the burl will burst forth in verdant life”.  Am I reproducing Christ through my life in my children, my husband, my friends?  I feel like I have that opportunity and responsibility, but am I?

Okay I am quickly realizing that this post is going to be way too long (and even Mark won’t read them completely if they are too long) so I will leave you with that, but please check in tomorrow because there are a couple more amazing things that I learned from the Redwoods.  I will share them tomorrow and a great picture of Mark:)  The best is yet to come!


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