This view from my deck, our scorched hillside, shows how close the Soberanes wildfire burned this summer. Those far trees were a beautiful lush stand of redwoods. I always thought they looked brave, growing uphill from most of the redwoods down in the moist canyon creek bed. They stood strong and sturdy even in the wild winter winds.
Sadly, when we returned from our 3 week fire evacuation exile they were burned to a crisp, a clump of dead black sticks.
But within weeks we started seeing little bits of green midst the brown and black. Now, after several gentle rains, look at all the green growth along the trunks and sprouting from the base!
I eagerly took this zoomed in picture and began showing it to everyone I knew as if I were a new grandmother. Look! Green growth! Fuzzy trunks!
My friend Jim Covel, who was a forest ranger before becoming our head teacher at the Aquarium, looked at the picture and said, “Oh yes, redwood trees have “adventicious” cells that will sprout new growth after damage or fire, like the sprouts that come straight up from a felled redwood log. They can withstand tremendous damage and regrow. It’s what makes them so sturdy and long lived.”
I assumed he mean “advantageous” cells – what an evolutionary advantage, I can beat out my competitors.
But no, it’s adventicious, like Advent, coming again. “Adventicious cells,” says my botany book, “form after the stem is wounded or pruned.” Jim says, “They just live there under the bark, waiting until they are needed to bring new life.”
“i who have died am alive again,” as we say here at the Blue Theology Mission Station (see last week’s post.) Try to burn me, I grow again.
Oh come oh come adventicious cells, and ransom captive burned out hill. Which mourns in lonely exile here. Until the blessed rain and green appear. Rejoice, rejoice.