#28 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

You know how it is when you’ve gone someplace you were really looking forward to – then you head home. Oftentimes that drive home is simply a boring drive. There’s nothing more to see. Your trip is over and you just want to get home. I did not want to end  this awesome month-long journey in that manner!

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A “Kathi” Space Instead of a “Jo” Space

   I usually rode the school bus home, but when I needed to stay for 7th grade cheerleading practice, Mom picked me up after work at 3:30. The inside  of the old car had soaked up the warm sun of the fall afternoon, and I immediately relaxed as I slid onto the fabric seat. Although far more exhausted than I, having worked all day in the shop , Mom greeted me with a hug and a smile. As she drove, I pulled out my book, Little Women, read all the way home,

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#26 Mato Tipila

Once through the Bighorn Mountains, we continued east toward South Dakota, definitely wanting to see more of the Black Hills on our way to the Rapid City area. Oh my word! This land is stunning! We took Hwy 14 north to Devils Tower.

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Loneliness. I am not a stranger.

The word lonely has different implications for all of us.

Some are lonely because they are truly physically alone. They sit at home – or shop the grocery aisle – alone.

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#23 Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam

Ron’s greatest desire was to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Mine had been to see Grand Prismatic Spring. Both of our highest priorities had been met in those first two days in Yellowstone, and in doing so, we had  seen and learned more than we had possibly expected.

As soon as we entered this magnificent park, we knew it would be impossible to cover all the areas we desired – spend all the time we wanted. We had to choose. Now, on this third day, we had to choose between going through the south entrance to The Grand Tetons or to the northernmost side of Yellowstone to Lamar Valley. We chose Lamar Valley.

It was a long drive – nearly 100 miles – and not typical driving at that! You can see our route in gold on the map, and photos taken along the drive follow, as well.

(Did you know you can click on each pic to enlarge it?)

The roads differed from those we’d traveled in the middle of the park, in that they were sometimes tight and curved with short stretches in mountainous areas. We were glad we weren’t pulling the travel trailer.

We saw Obsidian Cliff and stopped at a kiosk where we observed some obsidian close up. I picked up a few flakes from the ground where people had chipped the beautiful dark volcanic glass, although they had been asked not to. Original peoples had used this rock many years ago for tools and weapons.

By Acroterion – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12213799

And we were amazed at an entire mountainside covered in steam vents: Roaring Mountain

This National Park Service video explains more about Roaring Mountain. It’s short. Click here. 

A short walk along The Artists Paintpots was like walking along a painter’s palette:

Certainly this drive had already brought many delights, but reaching the main junction of Mammoth Hot Springs brought us something we hadn’t yet seen anywhere:  Travertine Terraces of steaming hydrothermal features, always changing. They were beautiful:

Continuing east, we saw the beautiful Undine Falls, a three-step waterfall, which had once been on the cover of National Geographic

A petrified tree fascinated us, as well:

And antelope (pronghorn)

Although we saw buffalo here and there on this eastbound route along the north edge of the park, we began seeing them in herds:

Soon we entered a massive open area, a valley larger than Hayden – a valley larger than any we had ever seen. We parked along the road to take it all in. As far as we could see – left to right – east to west – were buffalo – thousands of buffalo:

And as we drove further east, this scene continued for miles.

In this valley, of course, A River Ran Through It. And  men fly-fished in the river, the buffalo grazing a short distance behind them. 

When you’ve seen buffalo and deer and antelope, how can you help but not sing, 

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,

and the deer and the antelope play,

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

and the sky is not cloudy all day.

As we began the long drive back to our campground, the roadside flowers, as they had throughout the last three weeks, welcomed me. Today, they softly sang  Oh give me a home, and it felt a bit like this valley really was my home. 

Click here to read the next  post in this series, “We’ve Hit It out of the Park”

Click here to view a wonderful video from the National Park Service about bison (buffalo) in Yellowstone. 

#22 The Living Rainbow

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.

~ John Muir

Oh yes. John Muir is spot on.  We are receiving far more than we had expected in today’s “walk with nature” here at Yellowstone National Park.

(I hope you have the music audio turned on! It might be located at the bottom of the page.)

We stand before Excelsior, once the largest geyser in the world. Its boiling water bursted 300 feet high and just as wide before the 1900’s, but with the exception of a two-day eruption in 1985, is now dormant as a geyser. One can only imagine what those monstrous  earlier eruptions must have been like. But I am fascinated  with simply observing it as it is today – a massive, boiling spring:

(Did you know that you can click on each pic to enlarge it on most devices?)

In his book, Our National Parks, John Muir wrote,

“Near the Prismatic Spring is the great Excelsior Geyser, which is said to throw a column of boiling water 60 to 70 feet in diameter to a height of from 50 to 300 feet, at irregular periods. This is the greatest of all the geysers yet discovered anywhere.”

As he continued, Muir referred to Excelsior as “incomparable” and that “nothing in the world” could match it.

Now we are watching the boiling  turquoise water of Excelsior spring up from deep within this crater and discharge 4000 gallons per minute into the Firehole River. It is amazing to think of the volcanic atmosphere underground.

Yes, John Muir, this Excelsior Geyser Crater is “incomparable.”

As we entered the park today, we had again followed the Madison River, but unlike yesterday, today we  turned south. It seems every road in the figure-8 loop of Yellowstone and those extending beyond the figure-8 loop follow rivers. Our ancestors and those original peoples of this area did the same – traveled beside the rivers. Today, we travel along the Firehole River, suitably named for the boiling water that feeds it. Here and there, a short distance below the boiling discharge from Excelsior, we see people wade and swim in its waters. Yesterday, we had seen men fly fishing in the Madison. (Click here) Not only does this park belong to its wildlife, it also belongs to us – the people of this country. And I am honored.

You’ll see today’s route in blue:

When you travel this area of Yellowstone, hot spots of this Yellowstone Volcano are even more visible than in other areas of the park. You can see them on either side of the road – for miles.

Planning for Yellowstone, Ron’s greatest desire was to see the Grand Canyon, which we had done yesterday. (Read about it here.)

Today,  we will view my greatest desire at Yellowstone – what I’ve most been looking forward to. And as awesome as I find Excelsior Geyser to be, I am most enthralled with the beautiful, colored spring behind it: Grand Prismatic Spring:

The center of the spring is near-boiling, and as the water reaches out to the edges and cools, colorful bacteria fill its waters. It is 300 feet long and 160 feet deep. The water in the center is 188 degrees! “The hot spring has bright bands of orange, yellow, and green ring the deep blue waters in the spring. The multicolored layers get their hues from different species of thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria living in the progressively cooler water around the spring.”

It’s not surprising this spring is called a living rainbow. 

We have arrived mid-day. Having read that the colors are best if the sun is shining, we’ve pretty much hit it perfect! I am blessed.

Ron spots buffalo prints and a “cow pie” it left in the crusty geothermal area between the boardwalk on which we stand and the spring itself. We humans are forbidden to step in this area, for our own safety. Temps had dropped to 40 degrees last night, and a buffalo had come here to warm up. The few rules of Yellowstone do not apply to those who call it home – its wildlife. 

Before we leave, we stand and stare. Others move past us, but I am still, standing and basking, trying to push this scene of the Grand Prismatic Spring deep into my long term memory. The photos will help me to remember, and later I am pleased by their quality.  

When we finally leave, we drive just a bit further on this road, around a curve to the trailhead that will take us to a lookout point of the Grand Prismatic Spring. And along the short distance, we see one single buffalo – between the huge hot springs and the trail to the lookout. This is the big boy who visited the hot spring in the night – I am sure!

We hike a half mile uphill to see Grand Prismatic from the overlook. It’s challenging on this hot day, but oh so worth it. Can you tell from the looks on our faces? 

Finally we hike back to our truck, parked along the road. We enjoy a few minutes of air conditioning as we drive further south on this Grand Loop, following the signs for Old Faithful. Amazingly, we find shade in the outer area overlooking the geyser.

So we sit on a log to picnic, awaiting the eruption, and within the time frame predicted, Old Faithful erupts! Afterward,  we browse the buildings in this “tourist attraction” – both old and new – and have ice cream on the porch of the Inn.  Old Faithful most obviously attracts thousands of people a day. At least that many are here for this one “faithful” eruption. The number of people makes this spot so different from others throughout the park. Throughout the afternoon, we see smaller geysers erupting in this area. 

 

All day, I thank God I am here in this place of the yellow rock,  Mi tse a-da-zi , which I wrote about yesterday. I thank God for the opportunity to be here and for the good health He has given Ron and me to hike these paths. I thank him for my travel mate of 50 years, my Ronnie. But most of all, and continually, I breathe spoken prayers of praise to my Father, for His amazing creation and this tiny bit of the original magnitude of that creation and a foretaste of what I will see in heaven. 

At the end of this second day, we again follow the Madison River toward our West Yellowstone exit, and today, our eyes are fixated on Mt, Haynes, named for the first official photographer of the park.  Mr. Haynes might be appalled at the quality of my photos, but I am thankful for each one. I am already reviewing them with joy as I send them to our children, while we drive back to our sweet little travel trailer for the night. Tomorrow is another day in Yellowstone!

 

Click here to watch a video from the National Park Service : Yellowstone’s Restless Giant

#21 Mi tse a-da-zi

Yellowstone. There’s no beginning and there’s no end to this place – at least, we couldn’t find either. Your own personal beginning might be the time and location you enter – something like your first time at Disney World but in awe rather than excitement. You can’t take it all in, so you absorb whatever you can – whenever you can – as you drive and stop and hike and stare and bask.

In awe.

And by the time you leave, you are saddened because you want more of this place, Yellowstone. You have stepped upon only a few of its 2,221,766 acres, have gazed upon only a fraction of its 3,472 square acres, and have spotted only some of the 67 species of mammals or  300 species of birds. You desire more, but you must save it for another time. It’s like a difficult breakup because you’ve established a relationship with this place that you’ll never shed. You’ll take it with you as you go, and it’ll never leave you.

Yellowstone.

(Make sure your audio is on. You’ll find the adjustment at the bottom of this page.)

You’ve read about it – see pics of it. I joined some social media groups that shared information about it. Then you make a plan. Many people have a perfect strategy before arriving.

Ron and I know we are a bit weak on our plan. The night before we enter the park, after we are settled in our campground just ten miles from the West Entrance,  we review ideas and brochures. We have allotted three full days in the park and a fourth day to drive through the park, exiting through the East Entrance, planning much of that drive to be in yet a different area than we will see throughout the first three full days. So we plan our days in order of their significance to us, wishing for more, but realizing our time limitations.

We enter the park from the West Entrance each day, but the first day is something like that first day at Disney World, but both exciting and awesome! The traffic slows, and I fumble with my camera. I’ve heard that when the traffic slows, it’s most likely because they’ve seen wildlife. Yes, that is the reason today. This is the first but not the last time a park ranger coaxes us – well actually yells at us – to move on. “Don’t stop in the road,” she hollers to the row of cars in front and behind us. “View the wildlife from the pulloffs.”

But actually the traffic moves slow enough that we have ample time to view the wildlife from the vehicle. Our windows are down every day – all day. A big dark buffalo saunters in the tall bright green grass of the meadow. Elk eat from the plants a bit further back.  This is a pasture unlike any I have seen across the Northern Great Plains or anywhere through this land so far. It is an unusual scene for this Michigan girl, for sure!

We seem to flow with the Madison River along this welcoming route, first on our left, then on our right. The first day we view the splendor of this river. The second day we fall in love with it. The third day we adopt it as our own. And the fourth day, as we leave, we pledge to always remember it.

We soon discover that this place belongs to the wildlife and to the plants and the trees and the water and to their Creator. We are merely visitors. But we are welcomed visitors – you and I – if we recognize and accept our place amongst all of this. We are humbled by its magnificence and by its uniqueness and by its beauty. We eagerly accept our place.

Day 1 in Yellowstone. Yellow route.

The  Madison River runs through the pastures like a cutout intended for watering livestock on a farm. Then it widens as it edges the mountain beside it, finally disappearing in the forests beside us, as we turn north onto the Grand Loop. Now the Gibbon River accompanies us. This land is filled with rivers and lakes and waterfalls, and with something quite foreign to us – geothermal features: geysers, steamvents, mudpots, and hot springs. We pull off to view the first hot spring we come by: Beryl Spring. I video – and photograph, soon realizing I wouldn’t have the time or opportunity to video each of the unique elements of the Yellowstone caldera, even if I lived here.

Gibbon Falls.

We see the Norris Geyser Basin with its many geysers, springs, and geothermal grounds.

This park is like  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on steroids. Here, as in the U.P., one doesn’t find “Do Not . . .” signs all over the place – only occasionally and when necessary.  It’s all original and inviting – in its natural state. We are welcomed here. Roadside Parks are abundant, and we enjoy our picnic lunch up at one of those roadsides, along the Gibbons River. 

We follow Norris Canyon Road to the Hayden Valley where we drive slowly, stop, walk, view – and repeat this over and over for hours! Herds of buffalo, valleys as far as the eye can see, mudpots, caldrons – all along the Yellowstone River, from which this National Park was named. We have many close-up opportunities to view buffalo from our truck. We find that the bulls are often loners – near the road – far in the distance – but the cows are always seen in the herds, often with their babies.

Nearing the end of that first day in the park, we visit the location Ron has most anticipated: The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

We have developed the habit of praying for one of our immediate family in each beautiful location we’ve visited on this western Adventure. We had started with our son, Matt, who we prayed for on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Today we pray for our grandson Noah as we stand in front of the powerful Upper Falls. The magnitude of its power and beauty is compelling, but when we proceed to the Lower Falls . . .

As I had been in the  Redwoods (Click here)., I am  again speechless. My eyes well up; I am so appreciative of being able to see this site. Ron stares in wonder. It is all he had thought it might be and so much more: the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: 

Borrowed photo of the canyon

First, the River was named by the Minnetaree Indians, who called it Mi tse a-da-zi, or Yellow Rock River in Eastern Montana, but the park then took the name Yellowstone after the yellow sandstones in this canyon. Now we understand.

Yellow sandstone formations in the Grand Canyon.

We literally force ourselves to leave this site to drive back to our campsite, our hearts full of the wonders we’ve seen, but our bodies tired from the day.  We look toward tomorrow –  another day in Mi tse a-da-zi – Yellowstone.  

Click here to read the next post, A Living Rainbow.

#20 The Trip, Itself

 (Have you read the post about our 21st day? Click here.)

On these 21st and 22nd days, we were “headed” to Yellowstone, although we didn’t consider it our “destination.”  Instead of a place, every mile, every jaunt, of the trip itself was our destination. This was practice I had developed as a youngster and Ron seemed to come by naturally.

When I was growing up in Michigan, my Daddy and Mama took our family on vacation every year – never across the country or to another continent – but to northern Michigan many times and to Virginia once. The destination was never our focus. The trip was our focus. We stopped along the way at roadside picnic areas where Mama tossed a tablecloth across the table and set out cold fried chicken and homemade lemonade carried in a glass gallon jar that had previously held apple cider vinegar. As we travelled, my brother, sister, and I played games in the car and occasionally fought like cats and dogs, while Daddy and Mama discussed sites we passed. My little ears and mind must have picked up their conversations, as I remember such things as The North Begins at Clare. I learned in those years that the trip, itself, was the destination. 

Then, after Ron and I married, whenever we took our three kids, Matt, Kristen, and Amber, on trips – camping in the Upper Peninsula or the long drive to Florida – we tried to make the trip, itself, our focus, too.

That first travel trailer, a used 20′ 1971 Holiday Adventurer, was probably our all-time favorite – undoubtedly because with it,  we created our first camping memories with the kids. We loved our little trailer, its cushions covered in a green flowered print,  coordinating with the avocado green appliances. (I wish I had it today!) We had some great experiences in that trailer. The first time we took it out, our two new bikes fell off the new bike carrier on the back, and a tree limb took the antenna off the roof when we backed into the campsite. Camping was always an active adventure, from Kristen falling out of the upper drop-down bed to Ron and I yelling at each other nearly every time we backed into a campsite at a State Park!

In addition to camping, the hours spent on the road throughout two days of driving to Florida hold special memories, as well. I wrapped small gifts to keep the kids busy in the car: new crayons and coloring books, small  magnetic checker boards, or my favorite – Colorforms.

The fascinating thing about those long drives was our mode of transportation . I particularly remember traveling in a 1976 Chevy Caprice Estate Station Wagon. Ron and I had driven a couple hours away to buy this used wagon, a few years old but in excellent condition. We lovingly referred to it as The Tank.

The Tank was huge – three full seats, each with plenty of leg room. Behind the third seat was a huge cargo area. The back gate rolled under and the back window rolled up (see the pic). Everything was automatic. It was all decked out with power options. When we went on vacation, we put the second and third seats down flat and placed a full-size foam mattress in the back and let the kids have at it (it’s a redneck term). I placed a suitcase beside each back door so the kids didn’t get near the door handles or automatic windows. Lunches and snacks were packed in shoeboxes, so we only stopped when necessary and for an overnight at a reasonable motel. They played all the way to Florida and napped only occasionally! It was a joyous trip – one for which we would be chastised today – but in those days . . .


Regardless, whenever we left for a vacation – either pulling a travel trailer or in a big old station wagon, my Daddy and Mama reminded us, “Remember now, your vacation starts when you leave home.”  It was a statement they had made all those years ago when they took my brother, sister, and me on family vacations; they repeated it some years later to Ron and me and our kids as we left home for vacation; so Ron and I have the same mindset to this day: the destination isn’t the focus of our travel. Each mile of the trip, itself, is the focus.

So, on these 21st and 22nd days, the trip itself – not Yellowstone –  was our destination. 

The trip today took us further east, through the high desert region of Burns and Hines, Oregon. 

The barrenness of the high desert region eventually gave way to bits of green, first found in small evergreens, then in pasture and hay fields, and finally in a few green corn fields, irrigated, of course. 

Lunch at rest areas in 95+ degree heat meant finding a picnic table shaded by a small pavilion, as trees were rare.  

To look on the map, one would think it a hop, skip, and a jump to cross into Idaho and up to the edge of West Yellowstone, but in reality, it was a long drive. It required another overnight, one which we had expected to spend at a Walmart parking lot or at a roadside rest area, but we had a problem with either: the intense heat, which permeated the surface of our trailer with no means of release without electricity to run the AC or even our little fan. So, I called ahead and booked us a site at Mountain Home, Idaho. The campground and campsite left much to be desired, but we were just thankful to refresh the inside of the trailer with AC!

Ron stopped along the road occasionally to cool the truck in this heat. 

The landscape was fascinating. In spite of the heat, I was thankful for these two days of the trip itself through Oregon and Idaho.  

Late in this 22nd day, the Tetons loomed to the east as we turned north toward Montana.

We settled in to our campsite just before dark. Behind us, chalets dotted the mountainside. To the west, the sun set, the end to another beautiful day of the trip itself. 

Tomorrow, our destination would actually be Yellowstone.

Click here to read the next post in this series,

#21 Mi tse a-da-zi

 

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#19 Our Own Oregon Trail

We left the Redwoods, our hearts full. (Have you read that post? Click here.) We yearned for more time in these forests, but it was time itself that caused us to move on. We tried not to look at all we left behind – rather at all that lay ahead for us.

We took a bit of the Redwoods with us – a seedling for our grandson, Noah. It would yet travel over 2500 miles with us. I babied it all the way. We headed north on US 199 to Grants Pass and then continued on Highway 62.


As we had done for 20 days, we continued on this 21st day – to observe our surroundings with its varied landscapes and features throughout every mile we traveled. The truck was most comfortable. Ron and I conversed about everything we saw. We drank fresh hot coffee and cold bottled water and munched on trail mix. Unlike other shorter drives near our Michigan home, I did not read or write while we traveled on this trip. Instead, I soaked it all in. Ron and I loved every moment of travel and every moment together. We were creating sweet memories.

It was a hot day, but we found shade as we lunched along the Rogue River.

Shortly after, we stopped to view the remnant of Mt. Mazama in the distance, which now held Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States.

But soon an unexpected treasure loomed ahead of us. I quickly looked at my map to find the name of this mountain I had not anticipated. It was Mt. Thielsen, over 9000 ft. high with the sharpest, horn-like peak of any mountain we had seen thus far. 


Called the “Lightning Rod of the Cascades,” its peak often receives lightning strikes, which have actually melted some of its peak, forming fulgarites. We were fascinated by this mountain.

A beautiful, clear day with perfect road conditions, we reached Bend, Oregon, where we had planned to overnight, much earlier than expected. We stopped and had a milkshake, discussed our plans, and pressed on, turning east on US 20. We drove 100 miles through sagebush and tumbleweeds, with no towns in sight, rarely meeting another vehicle, feeling like we were driving our truck through an episode of Death Valley Days. But unlike  those old days of bumpy roads in a covered wagon, this drive was smooth and quiet. 

The sun set to the west, behind us, casting pink rays upon the sagebrush.  It was a sight I’ll never forget.


We settled our little trailer into a quiet rest area just at dusk, looked at each other and smiled. It had been an awesome day on our own Oregon Trail. 

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Click here to read the next post, #20 The Trip Itself.

#18 I Walk Among the Giants

We drove just a short distance into California before gps instructed us to turn east onto Highway U.S. 199 toward our destination campground. I had booked three nights here, which I thought gave us two full days to go into the parks to see the beautiful Redwoods: our purpose in coming to this southernmost point of our journey. I assumed we would reach our campsite, set up, and visit the parks the next day, but . . . once we made that turn onto U.S. 199 . . .  we were already IN the Redwoods:

This Highway was cut through the forest – around and between the giants – every turn and curve was jaw dropping. We were in awe of this place!

 

We passed the Visitor Center, which we would visit the next day, where we would not only gain information but I would buy more gifts for the younger grandchildren. 

Even our campground was surrounded by Redwoods!

Sometimes, even I am speechless, which was the case for the next two days. You know how it is – you take photos and you show others – and you add, Well, the photos don’t do it justice. It was much larger. Or prettier. Or brighter. The photos just couldn’t display what you actually saw. Viewed. Absorbed. Several times I asked God  to keep these images in my mind forever. Neither Ron nor I wanted this discovery to end. It was lifechanging. 

Our Redwood Forest Adventure began with a 6-mile drive through the Redwoods on “A dirt road where the Redwoods kiss your car,” as the nps site describes it. (Click to learn more.)   Yes, the Redwoods kissed our big black truck, and I reached out the window and kissed them back. It definitely was an immediate love affair.

 Howland Hill Road originally was a stage coach road! The drive alone normally takes an hour or two along the edges of the trees – sometimes wide enough for two cars – other times only one vehicle can slip through. People take turns. No one is in a hurry. In fact, you rarely are conscious of anyone else – because you are in awe.

It took us much longer, all morning, in fact, stopping along the way to hike deeper into the forest, trying to embed visions of these monstrous groves deep into our memories.

And into the forest I go

to lose my mind and find my soul.

~John Muir

At first we seemed to play the “big, bigger, biggest” game, amazed each time we saw a tree bigger than we’d seen before:

 

 

But the next two days really wasn’t about the size of the Redwoods. It was about the Forest itself ~

~  walking among the 1000-year-old giants.

~  banana slugs and moss and plants and ferns as tall as a man.

~ discovering connections between the past and present – between the east and west – between myself and this forest.

And . . .

It was about gaining new insight into the importance of roots – yours and mine,

If you’ve followed my previous posts, you know I’ve contemplated the value of our roots being deep. See post #7.  Today I learned about the root system of the Redwoods, and it quite surprised me. They have shallow roots! In Michigan, we know it’s important for trees to have deep roots in order to obtain the water they need, but here, along the west coast, these monstrous trees get all the water they need close to the surface of the ground! There’s quite a difference in the climate and the geological features of this area compared to that in Michigan!

When Ron and I built our home in Michigan years ago, Daddy helped Ron  transplant trees, usually the size of broomsticks, from the woods into our yard. It was important, he said, to dig deep enough to keep the “tap root,” intact so that the tree might remain upright and be stable in the wind. But now I discovered that these huge Redwoods have no “tap root.” I wondered what keeps these huge trees upright in the wind and the storm, especially in this windy area. I soon discovered that their roots, although shallow, are widespread – sometimes extending 100 feet in all directions, and always intertwined with other Redwoods. They have tremendous stability – because they are all connected. They literally hold each other up. 

What or who holds you up? With whom are you connected?

A lot of memes go around Facebook and Instagram about getting rid of “toxic” friends and surrounding yourself with “true” friends who stick with you and support you. That’s good. But we believers have even greater instruction!

The Bible instructs us believers to be connected with each other – to hold each other up: (see references at end of post)

“. . . encourage one another

. . . build each other up

. . . encourage each other with these words

. . . look to the interest of others

. . . let your talk be helpful for building others up

. . . pray for each other

. . . forgive each other

. . . be kind, tenderhearted to each other

. . . talk with each other

. . . bear with each other

. . . carry each other’s burdens

. . . meet together with others . . .”

There are a lot of “each others, ” aren’t there? And they’re all referring to believers. God knew we needed each other – we needed to be connected and hold each other up. In fact, the very instruction of meeting together with others is so that we might encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25) We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and as the body of Christ, our roots must connect – gathering in church – or Bible Study – or worship – with other believers. Intertwined . . . 

. . . like the Redwoods!

There’s something special

about the body of Christ.

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Look for the next post – Burls in the Redwoods!

References to discover: Ephesians 4:29, 4:32; 1 Thess. 5:11, 4:18;Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:25; Col. 3:13; Luke 24:14; James 5:16; Philippians 2:4