What has always fascinated me about trees and most plants, is their similarities to creatures. With scientists now studying things like tree genetics and circulatory systems, it’s becoming clear that there’s probably a few things we can learn from the plant kingdom as humans, especially from the giants. Some Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) have been around for about 2,500 years. To put that in perspective, some of these trees would have already been about 500 years old when Jesus walked the Earth around 4 B.C.. On a recent hike through Redwood National Park, I had the idea of putting my perspective and a few lessons that we can take away from the (literally) growing knowledge of the ever incredible Redwood forest into a little life lesson post. You may not be as fascinated with the Redwoods as I am, but hopefully one of these lessons can help you in your journey of growth!
I. GROWING GRAY IS A PRIVILEGE
Younger Redwoods have a brighter, more vibrant red bark. As the tree grows older, the bark fades and becomes gray. However, with the age and continued growth comes a much greater ability to absorb carbon and emit oxygen. Typically, the greater the age, the greater the impact for our environment. Going gray is not only part of the life cycle but a crown of glory for not Redwoods, but us too. Just as Redwood becomes increasingly noble with the turn of color within their bark, we can continue to grow in wisdom and help others through our life experiences as we grow old.
II. LEAVE A LEGACY YOU ARE PROUD OF
When a Redwood falls to the forest floor in a natural ecosystem, nutrients are slowly provided for decomposers and the soil alike as the tree begins to decay. Another situation when the bigger the tree, the larger the impact of nutrients given back to the ecosystem. When we focus on expanding the span of our positive influence on the world, we leave behind a legacy big enough for many to learn from for a long time.
III. LEARN TO LET OTHERS HELP
Redwoods are stronger when they are amongst each other- the intertwining of roots between one tree to the next makes both the trees stronger which is important on the windy, stormy Northern California Coast. Like Redwoods, when we accept the help and love of others it makes both sides stronger and more easily able to withstand the storms of life.
IV. NEVER LET YOUR FAITH GET CRUSHED
If a Redwood crown (the very top of the tree) happens to detach from the tree, the tree automatically sends up new crowns. Likewise, when a Redwood is completely cut down, or burned, basil sprouts are sent up from the root system with the same DNA as the original tree. It’s nearly impossible to kill a Redwood, so what if our faith was this strong and determined? It can be!
V. ALWAYS SEEK GROWTH
Even at the end of their life, Redwoods are still growing faster than ever before in terms of volume, but also by sending up new crowns and sprouts. No matter what the conditions within their circumstance are, Redwoods don’t make excuses and neither should we. There is always something to improve within ourselves and the amounts of growth that we can still go through are immense. Redwoods were not created to stop growing and having an impact and neither were we.