We entered, passing from pure sunshine to deep shade. A cathedral surrounded us, soaring high above our heads so we had to crane our necks to see the canopy. Rugged pillars of weathered, seasoned wood encircled us, some, the largest in circumference, smoothed by the touch of many hands; but just at the base – not very high – a mere 2-3 metres.

Silence. No birdsong, no voices. Now and again, a cricket whirred, hidden in the undergrowth. Here and there, sunbeams broke through, enabling a patch of undergrowth and new trees to survive and flourish. Only here, in these bright patches, did birdsong break the silence. Yellow-green foliage stood proud in umbrella fronds against the backdrop of mighty trunks and the dark foliage of deep shade. Here too, moss grows, bright green pin-cushion carpets, vivid spotlights shining against the needles of the forest floor.

It was a holy place, this forest, in the far south of the planet. A place of ancient mystery. The water was still, ice blue translucent water. It was unable to sustain life for its mineral cocktail poisoned all that strove to live within its depths. It was clear. Like glass. It did not steam like other pools in the area, but still had an unhealthy appearance, eerie, like something from a science-fiction film. Yet even so, life thrived on its banks and crept up the surrounding slopes.

Walking on, I circled a giant, up a pathway suspended from the branches high above, ascending to the canopy of the lesser trees, and walked through the tree tops. High above the forest floor, the light and shade, the tones of green, the variety of trees, was a fascinating experience. The bridges between the platforms swung gently as I walked them alone, and bounced when others followed, causing me to clutch the handrails to keep my balance.

I loved seeing the world from this perspective. It was a delightful, fresh way of investigating the forest and my heart sang with joy as I experienced nature – creation – in this dimension.

The redwoods and larch have only been there just over a hundred years and yet there is a timelessness about them. A perception that makes those who gaze upon their magnificence pose a question:

“How can I, as small as I am, be loved by God who created such magnificence?”

And yet I am. I feel His love often, in times of joy and sadness, hope and despair, life and death.

I am grateful for His love – in a way only my heart can tell for words are not enough.

And I am grateful to those who had sufficient perception to appreciate the beauty of the trees and to preserve them for generations to come. For they speak of God’s love and care to those who take time to listen.

Thank you, Lord, for this beauty. Creation is wonderful in its variety.

About Mandy Hackland

My love in life is to encourage others to deepen their relationship with God. I write devotional material, stories and small group studies with that in mind. I live in South Africa and also love spending time in the bush, bird watching and walking. I have moved to the coast and am enjoying the green spaces and beautiful vistas that surround me, reminding me of God's grace every day.
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