A Tapestry Spanning All Time
The vines are anchored to the tree are great, hairy, bulging ropes, winding up the rough bark like parasitic leeches. Wrapped in the fast-growing creepers, the towering tree has become a mannequin clothed in constricting garments. The tangled, matted vine roots hide the base of the tree trunk, creating a heavy net that extends out to the forest floor, tugging the mammoth downward, sapping its energy. Truly the Maker intended for all trees to be unfettered, spreading their canopy as equal parts of this communal forest-home.
But these invasive vines have been left to grow unchecked, slowly choking some of the trees, robbing breath from the lungs of the earth.
It takes time to unroot these vines. It takes sweat, discomfort, patience and awareness, no longer ignoring or fearing the spaces we’ve avoided. It involves kneeling down in the soil, hands among thorns, carefully dismantling the systems that scale insidiously to the sky, killing without regard the ladders that take them there. When these climbing plants monopolize their environment, stealing life, we must realize that it spells death for all of us. A forest free from sun-blotting vines provides the space necessary for all trees, in every size and variety, to reach their full potential.
Underground, unseen to most of the natural world, trees have the ability to communicate. With their network of branching root systems, in cooperation with tiny microorganisms they can share nutrients to heal and support each other. Certainly, the disastrous felling of trees can be attributed to a disease below the earth as much as above. If only the connections through the soil could be restored, if only the roots could be bridged and intertwined again, allowed to intermingle and carry sustenance to the hardwoods and softwoods, the evergreens and deciduous, the trees more vulnerable to disease and attack.
This restoration is a generational endeavor, a life work, a parent-to-child thread in a tapestry spanning all time. It requires dedication and a commitment to being a good steward and a careful neighbor. Because we belong to one other, and our Maker and Sustainer already has dirty knees, his body bent among the trees we’ve neglected, tending to and showing us the way.