Nature and Our Iconic Redwood Trees


We have coastal redwood trees in our front yard. It’s a beautiful, majestic tree that proudly stands out on our block. It is the only one on the street. There are some other redwoods up in the neighborhood hills behind our house which we visit on our walks.

There are only three species of redwoods. California has two, coastal redwoods and giant sequoia. The dawn redwood grows only in a remote part of China. Coastal redwoods are native up and down the coast of northern California. Giant Sequoias grow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. They are so unique, you have to take your out-of-town visitors to see these incredible, natural wonders. Both my sons lived in the redwoods when they were at University of California, Santa Cruz. I grew up camping in the redwoods. It’s in our native northern California DNA.

We’ve been in a severe drought the past several years. There was drought when we lived in Texas. We moved back to California and began another couple of years of intense drought. We really worried about our redwood tree. Redwoods need lots of water and usually get it in the coastal and mountain areas. Inland, not so much. We were on severe water restriction so she didn’t get much water.

Then we got rain. And more rain. And even more rain. An iconic giant sequoia (think online Geico commercial) was toppled in this massive rain storm we’re having. That tree has probably been here for over 1,000 years! You haven’t been able to drive through the human-created tunnel for several years, but there’s an easy hiking trail that’s accessible for just about everyone.

Redwoods have a unique root system that allows them to withstand earthquakes, floods, and winds. Redwoods are easily over 250 feet tall. You’d think their roots would have to be deep, but that isn’t the case. Instead, their roots are shallow, going down only about six feet. What they lack in depth, they make up for in width. Redwood roots extend out, sometimes over 100 feet from the trunk. They also join forces with grooves, rocks, and other redwood roots to form a strong, stable, connection that allows them to withstand the forces of nature.

Climate change contributed to sickening the great sequoia Pioneer Tunnel tree that went down in one of our recent storms. Humanity is responsible for that loss.

What kind of root system do you have? Do you have an Amen Corner of others who are joined with you as an intertwined and interconnected, supportive and interdependent network? Are you anchored in your faith?

They shall be like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
and it does not cease to bear fruit. ~ Jeremiah 17:8

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