Aug 28, 2006

Fire in the Crown -- Time for Regrowth

Compare the past forty years in the Church to a blazing forest fire that lasts only a few weeks, at most. Yellowstone's summer-long fire in 1988 is an exception. Yellowstone's former policy was to suppress all fires; unfortunately this created favorable conditions for huge infernos.

When an inferno reaches tree crowns in the upper reaches of the canopy, even trees hundreds of years old will die. How long does it take for new trees to germinate and grow so that you can see their green color again? Only a few years, yet when I visited Yellowstone two years ago (16 years after the fire), the new trees were less than 10 feet high. How long does it take to get marketable timber in a well-managed forest? Usually 40 to 80 years; less for some specialty woods. How long does it take to restore the really valuable old-growth trees--hundreds of years.

The fire in the Church reached the tree crowns. The old trees died in the terrible blaze, but even though dead, they still stand--yet without branches and no longer providing habitat for birds and animals, nor do they produce new offspring.

Certain religious orders are examples of the old-growth trees which have burned, but there are others. Do we see a small amount of green again? Yes, mostly in the Latin Mass communities. How long will it take to get marketable timber in large quantities--probably at least 80 years.


Lynne said...

What a beautiful, but sad, analogy...


I agree with Lynne a most excellent metaphor. Ties in with my lumberjack and florist comparision in a recent post at my blog.