The Beauty of Ecosystems, a Brief Glimpse.

will on stump

Giant Stump, my son on top for perspective. By Marybeth Haydon

Half way up the hill I glance at my new boots. They are covered with filth, the pretty newness of my footwear no longer attractive. But they are very comfortable, I’m glad that I had broken them in around the house for a week before venturing out into the wilderness. Now dirt-covered, I consider it a badge of honor. I’M IN A DIFFERENT SORT OF FOREST THIS OUTING. THE TOWERING, AND APTLY named, giant sequoias are a jaw-dropping experience to stand beneath. Exceedingly lush greenery, ferns, flowers and low-lying brush all dazzle the eye with such a nutrient-rich intensity, thriving in rich beauty beneath the trees. The large trees with thick, impressive branches often inhibit rainwater, greedily absorbing the moisture before it reaches the plant life beneath them. But the cool, moisture-rich fog that lingers beneath the trees keeps the forest floor inhabitants hydrated, allowing the plants to look longingly up at the giant redwoods. It seems almost as a love-story, the duo-shared nutrients feeding the other, depending upon one another in an almost intimate manner.
Even the long-ago-felled giants continue to feed the forested floor with the decaying wood. Beautiful, full ferns sprout from the tops of the now sideways trees. The champions lay precisely where they fell after a devastating flood in the 1960’s, their root system so very shallow, could not keep them upright in the weakened, saturated soil. I can only imagine the impact of it hitting the ground, surely it felt like an earthquake. The roar had to have been something of a train wreck and the massive wave it created in the flood waters must have been intense-intense. I picture something similar to high tide waves hitting cliff shore boulders, the impressive splash and height the foamy water reaching high and violently into the blue.

Its resting length is more than half of a football field and impossible to scramble to the end with the dense new-growth forest swaddling, caressing it. Even in its death it is fertilizing the forest for long-term health and providing essential habitats for endangered animal and insect species. Accordingly, these fallen trees are called nurse logs since they provide ecological facilitation to seedlings.   Puts giving your life for another in a completely different perspective.

New growth among Giant Sequoias by Marybeth Haydon

New growth among Giant Sequoias by Marybeth Haydon

These colossal ancient-of-days are at least 21 feet in diameter, jutting their spiking crowns 200-feet to over 400-feet into the sky. The thick, fibrous and split bark snakes irregularly upward and outward, cultivating protective highways and byways; trunk to branch, branch to twig, to the very narrow, high top of the tree. Protection is its mile marker, shielding the delicate inner structures from injury. This “guardian” is a thing of beauty, with tints of brown and red, shades of sienna and burnt umber all richly textured and variant. The cluster of trees so similar, the hues quite individual.

I’m more grateful for the Guardian that I have through Jesus; His Holy Spirit. I have made MANY mistakes when I first began my journeys through the wilds, and He was there for me, each and every time. Protecting, guiding, and loving with absolute abandon and certainty; holding nothing back.

What an impressive, imaginative, creative God I serve. To have even thought up the idea of more than a septillion of created forms, with their reproductive capacities not to mention the inner, intricate workings and details, how it all works together, harmoniously, it’s too much for me to comprehend!  Nature recycling, nothing wasted.

My God truly reigns.


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