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  • Wayne Chasney

A Lesson from the Trees

You shall go out in joy and be led back in peace…and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

The trees have been putting on quite a show for us this fall. I heard the weatherperson say that it has been near perfect conditions for the fall foliage. Plenty of rain during the summer and fall temperatures that have been just stressful enough without too much stress. The result has been brilliant golds and reds and oranges that really pop on those rare occasions we see the sun! In a way, the trees are clapping their hands.

About five years ago, a German forest scientist named Peter Wohlleben published a book titled, The Hidden Life of Trees. While we know that trees are living organisms, most people don’t see them as much more animate than a rock. That’s not true, though, says Wohlleben. “Trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated — and even intelligent — than we thought.”

In the book, Wohlleben talks about how trees communicate with each other, especially through intertwined root systems. This is why that single tree by itself out in your yard is never really healthy. It’s lonely.

Trees will also work together, sharing resources or even directing resources toward one of their own that is diseased or unhealthy. They care for one another.

As we enjoy the show the trees are putting on for us right now, a show that is quickly coming to an end and pointing toward those bleaker days of winter, perhaps we should listen to the lessons they teach. We all do better with roots connected to others and we should help one another when the need is there. And we should all let our own unique colors show, recognizing the beauty in all the different colors of the rainbow.

In joy and praise, let us all together clap our hands!

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