Friday, February 1, 2019

The Wisdom of the Pinyon Pine


"The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”
— Joseph Wood Krutch,       .
American writer and naturalist
February is not an easy month to love.  Average temperatures in Reno range from lows of 26° to meager highs of 51°.  In February, you can expect just about the same amount of precipitation as you saw in January, except by now, you are really tired of it.
In Nevada’s winter, trees and plants go dormant.  Even our hardy pinyon pines slow the process of photosynthesis in favor of resting and conserving energy.  If trees and plants tried to force growth during the winter, it would damage them.  The roots of all plants and trees, however, never truly go dormant but are in a resting state called quiescence as they watch for signals — longer days, more moisture, higher temperatures — that tell them it is time for new growth.
Americans are a hard-charging lot.  We make grand resolutions in January, and try to forge ahead relentlessly.  The drive is always to produce more, get ahead, set more goals.  When asked how we are doing, many of us are likely to answer, “Busy!”
Perhaps we could learn something about living in February from the wisdom of the pinyon pine.  Isaiah writes, “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  This kind of thing does not come naturally to many of us.  What would our February be like if we focus on returning and rest, on quietness and trust.  God assures us our roots are never quite dormant; it is okay to just rest and return to God.   There is plenty of time.  Sitting quietly in the presence of our loving God, we gather strength and Spirit for the next vibrant green, growing season of our lives.

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