Redwoods bloom in beauty of holiness

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, August 3, 2023

Cochrane coffee companion Elizabeth Short had an experience recently that elevated our mutual understanding of blooming where you’re planted to an inspiring new level.

Elizabeth, a deacon with the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, spent time among the redwood forests of northern California. “It was an experience of the senses,” she says. “The sight of the tall, straight trees, the lush green all about, the forest, the red forest floor, were captivating, along with the sun shining from way above. There was the sound of birds and the whisper of breeze. And there was deep silence. There was the intoxicating smell of the forest. And yet, as I entered the shaded quiet, I somehow felt a sense of homecoming.”

But her experience went beyond the senses, she adds. “It was balm for the soul and enlightening for the spirit. I have always loved being in a forest, but this was a whole different thing.”

These redwoods are up to 1,000 years old, soar to over 300 ft (91 m), and average 30 ft (9.14 m) in circumference, as at the right in the accompanying photo-collage.

“When you go into one of these forests, you feel tiny, perhaps even insignificant. But there is perspective to be gained. In comparison, I am small in stature, yes; my longevity, short. But I am part of a greater whole. I am not isolated or alone, nor am I the centre of the universe. I am part of the glorious creation of a loving Creator. One realizes it is a privilege to be part of this, to do your part and bloom where you are planted.”

It was an experience articulated in verses Elizabeth encountered on a redwood slab among the trees. I’ll conclude with lines from The Redwoods by Joseph B. Strauss, intriguingly also the chief engineer of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge:

For here we sense life’s proper goal.
To be like these, straight, true and fine,
To make our world, like theirs, a shrine.


© 2023 Warren Harbeck

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