Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chestnut Logs Lie Silent Still

I had a dream once of walking through an ancient forest. It seemed somehow different, familiar and yet somehow fundamentally different. And then suddenly I realized I was surrounded by massive chestnut trees—an entire grove of chestnuts! And then the air was filled with birds moving into the forest and nearly every branch became a perch. They were passenger pigeons! A seeming endless flock of extinct birds were filling the outstretched branches of these massive chestnut trees. It was as if I were in another world.

Chestnut in the Smoky Mountains
And then I awoke. It was just a dream.

I mourn the loss of the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata). I know I would have loved to walk among them. But I never had the chance. Today, chestnut logs lie silent still upon the forest floor. Undeterred by death, scraggly remnants continue to send up new life—only to struggle and die young from the chestnut blight.

Perhaps by some miracle these giants of the forest will return—like Ezekiel's dry bones. That is a day I would rejoice to see. Perhaps, if we can learn to think long-term, if we are worthy stewards, just maybe these giants will live again. That would be grace.

If you're interested in knowing more about efforts to restore the queen of the forest, you might want to check out The American Chestnut Foundation.

American Giants

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