Of Redwoods (Again)

I’ve been reading up on the resistant vitality of Redwoods this morning.

Did you know that mature Redwoods are highly resistant to insects, fungi, and fire?

It’s the resistance to fire that is captivating me right now. I’ve known about this fire resistance since I asked God to make me a Redwood over six years ago, but He reminded me of it this morning. 

You see, He’s calling me to the fire, telling me not to be afraid of it.  I’ve survived insects and fungi, He tells me, and my root network is in place. Here comes the fire.

And you know what I love about this revelation? Not that there is more hard stuff on the way (because Lord knows I’m as tired as they come), but that my Heavenly Father counts me mature enough to resist the fire, to continue living and giving life in the middle of it all.

Listen to this:

Fire is the great quick destroyer of forests. Acres upon acres of the finest forests of the world are consumed annually by destructive fires. The pine and the fir trees are highly inflammable because of the pitch they contain. Evidence of early-day fires is apparent in many places throughout the Redwood regions, and many of the fire scars can be used to date the time of the occurrence of the fires.

Redwoods, however, contain neither pitch nor resin; furthermore, since the asbestos-like bark grows to at least one foot in thickness in the Coast Redwood, and often as much as two feet in thickness in the Sierra Redwood, fire seldom is able to kill these trees. Once in a great while, fire will go up the trunk of a Sequoia, burn the crown, and thus kill the tree. Both kinds of Redwood are thus exceedingly resistant to fire and its effects. Of course, hot fires will kill the young Redwoods, but once the trees have reached maturity they are not easily killed.

As many as six lightning fires have been known to occur in the Yosemite in one day. If fires have occurred no oftener than once in a hundred years, some of the older trees must have been attacked at least twenty times in their lifetime. Once a fire was started, it swept through the forest, burning pines, firs, and young Sequoias, but seldom killing a mature Sequoia.

The Telescope Tree in the Mariposa Grove and the Chimney Tree in Big Basin show how these trees may continue for centuries to remain vigorous though their heart is burned out. How can a tree continue to live with the heartwood burned out? The term “heartwood” is really a misnomer, in that it suggests the animal heart, which is essential to the life of an animal. Heartwood is composed of cells which have ceased to live. The outer layers of the wood of a tree, known as sapwood, are the live part of the wood. Through the sapwood, water and minerals are conducted up from the roots. Food is manufactured by the green leaves in the presence of sunshine, and the food is conducted down to the various parts of the tree through the inner layers of bark.

There are sections of country along the Redwood Highway where farmers have tried to use cut over Redwood land for agricultural purposes. But even after as many as ten successive years of heavy burning of the stumps on a cut-over region, sprouts have still continued to come up, so that the farmers frequently surrender to the persistent Redwoods.

Source: National Parks Service

Bring it, fire.

Burn up the dead inside.

I carry the living things close to my tough but resilient exterior, anyhow. Everyone knows that.

You don’t scare me, fire.

I am made of tougher stuff than you, and I am one of those Redwoods that will keep living and giving life. My Creator made me so.

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