Trees provide more than just shade

By Joan Clayton: Columnist

I learned an amazing concept about trees in a conservation workshop. We were told when a tree is in distress, from drought or disease, it sends out signals (vibrations) to the nearest tree. The nearest tree sends back support signals to the distressed tree.

I don’t know what kinds of signals are sent but the distressed tree has support from the nearest tree. I also learned a tree in distress is much more vulnerable to disease and insects.

That reminds me of people. They encourage others with, “Hang in there. You can make it. We’re praying for you. You’re going to be all right.” My husband broke his wrist recently and has been encouraged by so many people. We are very thankful for that.

I like to think all of us are “support trees” to others in need.

We live in an amazing world. Plants and animals are just a few of God’s many blessings. My students loved playing under the shade of trees on the playground.

Trees are good for the environment. Trees attract moisture. Trees provide life for many species, including man. Third world countries have experienced great famine from the cutting down of trees. Epidemiologists have agreed that cutting down trees in the rain forests have not only upset nature’s balance but permits viruses to run rampant.

If you know where I live, you can tell I love trees. We have lived in the same house many years. Our boys were small when we first planted trees and like our boys, the trees have grown tall and stately too.

Sometimes when I swing in our garden swing held by one of those trees, it seems I can still hear balls bouncing and skateboards turning. I can still see three young boys in Little League suits pitching back and forth under the shade of the nearest tree.

Trees also remind me of God’s kingdom. In the NIV version, Psalm 52:8, David compares himself to an olive tree: “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God.” Olive trees are long living trees and a flourishing one has even more longevity.

It is stated in Genesis 3:24 that after Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden for disobedience, God placed an angel with a flashing sword to guard the way to the “Tree of Life.” Otherwise, mankind would have lived forever in a sinful state. How awful that would be.

In life, storms come to people and trees alike. Both trees and people are buffeted by adversity, but just like the trees we send down stronger roots. Those roots enable us to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NIV). The next time you are in church look into the faces of those who have conquered adversity because of their belief in Jesus.

Choosing God’s path enables one to be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3 NIV).

In Revelation 22:1-2 the Tree of Life is described: “The angel showed me the river of the water of life. It was shining like crystal and was flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street of the city. The tree of life was on each side of the river.” (NCV)

I love to awaken in the morning and see the tops of our trees swaying in the breeze. The book of Isaiah 55:12 tells about … “all the trees in the fields will clap their hands.”

I clap my hands in praise for God’s many blessings and for the “Tree of Life.” It’s the best tree of all!