“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
                                                   J.R.R. Tolkien

      After last week’s snow and ice storm here in the Pacific  Northwest, the strength of trees (or lack thereof) has been on my mind. Our neighborhood streets, playgrounds and highways are littered with the flotsam and jetsam of sticks, twigs and branches broken by the weight of too much snow and ice.

      We have two lovely jacquemontii birch trees that have been in our front yard for 20 years. They are my favorites for two reasons: I love the brilliance of their bright bark in the Winter and the graceful sweep of their tiny-leafed branches as they drape my windows in the Spring. They have been babied through the seasons ever since they were planted, tended by my husband who wrapped one in a plastic bag to ‘repair’ it during the last ice storm over 10 years ago.

The above picture shows you what those dear birches looked like after the snow turned to ice on the trees.

I was heartsick at the possibility of scores of broken branches; we heard crashes throughout the day and night from trees all around us losing limb after limb.

My husband was desperate to make sure the trees retained their former shape and beauty so, flying in the face of any sane wisdom in the freezing morning air, we went out and tapped/smashed, ‘chink, chink, chink’, with a long aluminum pole all the branches we could reach.

The ice chunks fell through the air like pieces of a chandelier, natural glass striking the stones below them.

As the ice began to melt the next day, the trees miraculously recovered before our eyes–it seemed the arching branches straightened up 6 inches at a time.

Here’s what they looked like 36 hours later:

So, what is it, I wondered, about trees that gives them the wherewithal to withstand too much weight and stress, too much brutal wind and cold? How could they bounce back after that kind of load?

The World Book Encyclopedia (c. 1956) says this about trees and their roots:
  • “The fastest growing part of a tree is hidden in the ground.”
I thought, “I should be like those roots, hidden where no one can see but God, doing what they were created to do. Searching for water, growing stronger in God, out of the natural light, alone with Him, in a secret place.”
  •  “The roots are an earth machine that operates in darkness and dampness.”
Operating in darkness and dampness—even in the darkness, I can find strength if I have His Light. Especially in darkness. Sometimes only in the darkness, when the only source of warmth and light is the very presence of Jesus.
  • “The chief water-collecting part of the root system is made up of tiny, pearly-white hairs called root hairs—A root hair is as fine as a spider’s thread.”


A spider’s thread is as fine, finer than spun silk, and strong, very strong.  (Have you ever tried to walk through a spider web?)  The strength of the root hairs comes when they are full of water—like Living Water, God’s Word.  There it was again.
  • “Root hairs grow just back of the tip of a root. They appear suddenly wherever there is moisture.”
Oh, I get dried out—life’s demands and difficulties dry all of us out. We get away from our water source and we long for more. Moisture, living water….am I drinking from the fountain? Am I being watered from that Well, God’s Word? Am I spending time in His Presence?

My strength is there.
  • “The real feeders of the tree are very small, mere threads; the bulky muscular roots are for strength; its life is in the rootlets that fringe them…”
There are those roots again, going down deep in the dark, strengthened in Him.  The deepest root is the tap root, but the lifeis in the thousands of rootlets, channeling the water.

We will never know how strong we are in Christ until we dig deeper in Him.

Ephesians Chapter 3:16-18:
16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide
and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

· Dig down deep and Drink when life is difficult and demanding and
    you’re in the dark…….especially when you’re in the dark

One thought on “Roots/Trees

  1. These metaphors are so enchanting. Today something in me connects with each one. Even the heavy ice.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. It's always a blessing to connect and meet new people. I hope we “see” each other often. Be well.


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