Infected Pines Watercolor

3 Infected Pines
watercolor in a cold press sketchbook

Sometimes nature is not always beautiful. It has as we perceive them, imperfections. One day, I noticed young red pines (Pinus resinosa) in a nearby park that had brown patches all along the bottom perimeter of each tree. I did not pay much attention nor give the situation importance. But then, I noticed that every red pine along my 50 minute commute to school had the very same problem. Every very last one of them. Suddenly the tiny issue at the park took a much greater significance.

I’ve heard it could be a fungus. I don’t want to pinpoint what the problem is because I’m not completely sure. When contemplating how many pines are involved, I began to worry. But then I remembered the question a young summer camp attendee once asked me as we were hiking in the woods. She noticed a dying tree and asked, ” Why don’t we just cut it down?”

This response is so human. The tree is imperfect…why don’t we get rid of it? What value does it have? It’s not serving me, so let’s do away with it.

I began to describe the plethora of wildlife that depends on dying and dead trees. From birds to beetles to worms to microscopic organisms to fungi and eventually to the soil itself. The next generation of new plant growth needs the minerals from this dying organism.

So what exactly is imperfection?

One of my favorite verses of all times:
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8

So, could it be that everything has a purpose? Who knows, maybe in the future if thousands of these pines succumb to a dismal fate, many organisms will be, at that time, in need no longer. So be it.

Nature is beautiful the way it is. And I do believe there is a plan. One in which, thank goodness, I don’t have to be in control of.


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