Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thoughts on Trees

I was outside on a break today and a co-worker motioned to a nearby tree and said, “If that big old tree ever snapped off, it would crush my car.”

It sparked for me one of those moments that cerebral people frequently have where you suddenly find yourself in awe of nature’s magnificence.

The trunks of trees grow thick and strong, which allows them to stand up to the fiercest of winds. On their much thinner branches, they grow leaves, which (among other things) help increase the surface area receiving the brunt of the wind, thus allowing the branches to withstand wind forces much higher than they could stand without the leaves. They lose their leaves in the winter, when strong storms with powerful winds are less likely to occur. By the time storm season returns, the trees have regrown their leaves.

When branches do snap and fall to the ground, they biodegrade quickly into the soil, providing powerful nutrients for the tree to keep growing stronger.

It’s all just such a perfect circle of life, everything working together in flawless precision, every unexpected turn met with botanical preparation.

It almost seems...designed.

Almost. But not quite.

It’s fascinating to realize that the only reason I am even here to contemplate it is because it works.


Scott said...

Someone has pointed out to me that my thoughts about leaves aiding branches against the wind is exactly backwards. In fact, leaves, through increasing the surface area of the branch, would make the branch more likely to break. Oh well. The circle of life is still fascinating.

Anonymous said...

No one ever said that you were a botanist. And it sounds like you are coming around to God as Creator. I knew you would. I think that I shall never see a blog as lovely as a tree...

Scott said...

No, I'm not coming around to God as a creator. Intelligent Design is an absurd and misinformed logic.

deine schwester :) said...

I'm hearing Lion King music.

Anonymous said...

But you admit that it's logical.

Scott said...

I admit that it is natural for a human being to see order and to assume there is a designer behind the order. Someone recently posted a picture of an enormous snow wheel -- it looked like a big monster truck tire, thick snowy walls with a perfectly hewn hole around the center. If you didn't know what it was, you would swear it was manmade. But it's not. When the conditions on the mountain are right, avanlanches can cause these snow wheels.

So just because we look at creation and see order does not meant that creation did not come from chaos.

Scott said...

To add one other thing:

The beauty of creation is that it is ordered, despite its background in chaos. And as I alluded to in my initial post, if it wasn't ordered, we wouldn't be here to enjoy it. We're here because it works.

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