During our walk along a trail in our neighborhood, I was surprised to find a tree growing around the top railing of the bridge. Yes, around it! I couldn't stop thinking about this. I discovered that this happens more than we think!
This phenomenon is called edaphoecotropism. "It’s the propensity of living tissue to engulf foreign objects, whether rocks, road signs, park benches, even motorcycles. Contrary to what you might think, this act of incorporation does no harm to trees. It actually benefits them by adding strength to their structure." (scenichudson.org)
"The living tree has the most amazing capacity for self-repair and it will simply incorporate foreign objects into its structure. This act of edaphoecotropism, as it is called, is not harmful to the tree. The living tissue of the tree itself simply flows around an object and engulfs it. In so doing, the tree binds itself to the item and the connection actually becomes stronger as time passes. If you were to carve back the tree, you would find that the item inside will still be perfectly formed, not eaten but merely consumed!" (By Perfect Plants)
One of the most famous examples is the Bicycle Tree in Scotland. Dating from the latter half of the 19th century, this sycamore once stood alongside a blacksmith’s scrap heap. As the tree matured, it grew around a number of left-behind objects, reportedly including an anchor and a horse’s bridle.
It most definitely contains the remains of a bicycle. Legend has it the bike’s owner leaned it against the tree when going off to fight in World War I. He never returned and the tree eventually laid claim to it. Today, visitors come to see the bicycle’s handlebars and frame branching out of the sycamore’s trunk high above their heads.
It made me think of prayer. Those objects were engulfed because they were in close proximity to those trees. And as the trees grew, they grew around those objects. So bring your concerns close to God. It strengthens us. Meanwhile, you can look back and see where God has moved.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Major AnnMarguerite Jones