The green stick tree

Some of you may have wondered what kind of tree is pictured at the top of my blog. It’s called a Palo Verde tree, and it’s the state tree of Arizona.

I took several photos of this tree when I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix three years ago, including the one in the blog’s header and this one below:

A Palo Verde tree at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix

The tree transfixed me. Born and bred in the southeast, I’m accustomed to tall pines, giant oaks and maples, and abundant magnolias, cherry trees and more. But what had me spellbound about this tree was its green trunk. I had never seen such a color on a tree trunk in my life. Flower stems are supposed to be green, sure, but tree trunks? In my part of the world, tree trunks are brown. 

Our tour guide spent some time telling us why this tree’s trunk is green. As it turns out, it has to do with photosynthesis (remember learning about that in elementary school science?). Because these trees live in deserts, they have adapted to survive long droughts that force them to shed leaves and even limbs.

With the green trunk taking care of the photosynthesis, the tree can survive long periods of heat and drought without leaves, while still feeding its roots. And by the way, the roots grow quite deep so they can tap into water sources far under the desert floor.

I think that’s pretty darn cool. And it got me to thinking about how we can all take a lesson from the Palo Verde tree about adapting well so that we can flourish in our surroundings.

Sometimes God wants us to change what’s going on around us. But other times, he wants us to be the ones who change. Just like this tree changed its very core to survive, we might need to change something fundamental about ourselves to thrive where God has placed us right now.

Change can be easy sometimes, but for most of us, the things that we need to change about ourselves can be quite difficult. It can take a conscious effort, lots of prayer and sometimes even some tears of pain or frustration. But the result – like the Palo Verde tree – can be quite beautiful.

PS: Commenting
I’ve heard from several of you that commenting has been difficult on this blog, which ruins the whole point of having the blog in the first place.

I’ve changed several settings and am hoping you’ll all have an easier time jumping in to the conversation. I look forward to hearing from you! And if these new settings don’t work, I can always try moving the whole blog over to WordPress. (Yikes! Talk about a reluctant change.)

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