On June 28th we went back to the Mammoth Hot Springs tour via the car to Upper Terrace Drive. These terraces are created as hot water bubbles up from the ground and becomes streams running down the mountain. In one of these terraces we saw a tree that had been killed as the hot water hit it and it fell. As the terrace formed it was covered in the sediments.
Several times during our Yellowstone vacation we also came upon stands of trees that had been killed by hot water but remained standing and then their trees began to suck up the hot water and it evaporated leaving behind the sediments. Just like those elementary school science projects where you turn your celery different colors by adding food dye to the water; watching it move up the stalk.
And then there were the petrified trees. They were turned into stone ‘by dissolved minerals in water a the time when they were covered with volcanic lava, ash, and tremendous mudflows’. p. 208 – Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple.
We saw many living trees too. But these dead trees caught my eye and my heart. They were dead but preserved – some temporarily and the petrified ones forever. Ghost trees. One minute you are going through the park and it was so green and living and vibrant. Next curve in the road and you see nothing but utter desolation. But it wasn’t really dead. The trees and plants may have been killed by the hot water but the hot water itself was alive with tiny little organisms called thermophiles. Some of them could be quite colorful but not the lush green we think of as representing life and growth.
It was amazing. How could God make those little tiny bacteria that will live on sulfur and not hydrogen and oxygen? Why would we think of living as green and dead as gray? We would never think to look for the living in the gray. But God did. And God provided something that could live in both these environments….hmmmm
As we look around us and see life – in various forms and stages – do we get to expecting it in certain places and stages in our neighborhoods and parks and lives and our very souls? Do we sometime look and feel ‘gray’ and not very alive? Maybe we aren’t dead but dormant, resting and gathering energy for the new form of growth or waiting for spring.
The many green trees we saw – took in cool water and nutrients from the soil and sucked it up their roots and sent it upwards towards the leaves (or pine needles). They took in the sun light with their chlorophyll and made more essential nutrients for the tree to grow and prosper.
Is the water we are taking in giving us life? or killing us? We need to eat healthy to remain alive, we need to exercise, but to experience life in all its wholeness we need ways to nourish our spiritual lives – we need to take in that living water that Jesus offered the woman at the well.