Today’s find: Deadwood

We took a short hike at Castlewood the other day, and by the end I found myself wandering – in a bit of wonder – around Colossae.

Initially, I found the trip to the park a bit disappointing. Flood waters have only recently receded on the Meramec, leaving a treacherous and muddy mess in their wake on many of the river’s most popular sandbars.

Here’s mud on your shoes: Castlewood still suffers from the Meramec’s flooding.

True, a few hardy souls still trudged through the malodorous muck to reach the water’s edge. But Gerri and I thought better of it…trading our intended destination for a pedestrian (but considerably less challenging) walk in the woods.

Pleasant weather enhanced the pleasant company we enjoyed, my Paradise Partner and me – a considerable blessing, just to have this chance to waste a little time together. We chatted about a thousand little things, free-associating from topic to topic to topic. Talked so much, in fact, that I almost missed it: the fallen tree just off to the left of the path.

Fungal life sprouts…atop the deadwood.

Deadwood, unworthy of a second glance.

Until I noticed the forest-within-a-forest nourished by the hard wood’s decay: Dozens upon dozens of bright white oyster mushrooms, many sporting coaster-sized crowns…together blazing a trail through the undergrowth, illuminating rotten bark.

The silent scene whispered somehow. ‘Circle of life,’ for sure. But perhaps something more. I snapped a quick photo, and we were on our way.

Fifty yards down the path, another fallen tree caught my eye – this one adorned with a rather vigorous stand of parasitic plants: a jumble of sprouts and ferns…all gently kissed by the light of the late-morning sun.

Only today did it dawn on me – with the help of the passage we hear from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians – why these fallen trunks might have the capacity to stir my heart so. Paul says to us:

For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Doesn’t sound like much of a bargain, does it?  At least, not until you realize that the ‘self’ ultimately amounts to nothing more than deadwood. It has no real future – as Jesus reminds us in the parable of the rich man:

‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’

But if I learn to die to self…if I learn to die in Christ…it’s then that all sorts of interesting possibilities begin sprout.

Even from deadwood…springs life eternal.







Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.


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