I love autumn!
Changing colors, cool nights, campfires, apple cider, and baseball playoffs bring extra joy as the rhythm of the school year settles in. Conference season also kicks in—times for learning together, discovering new ideas, and building professional relationships. This year has been particularly renewing after a pandemic year of limited opportunities to be together.
This hunger for collegiality reminded me of the CACE blog Matt Coleman wrote about the Redwood groves that have grown for over 1000 years in our area of Central California. He describes why redwoods thrive “in community”:
Redwoods thrive in groves. Their sociability has to do with their roots. Though 250-300’ tall and about 30’ in diameter, the roots of sierra redwoods aren’t particularly deep: they extend only 6-8’ below ground. Though relatively shallow, the root systems stretch wide, extending 100-150’ feet from the trunk, interweaving with the root systems of other redwoods in the same grove.
Even more fascinating is that these redwoods talk to each other through their roots. Yes, you heard me correctly: they talk to each other, holding each other up and giving each member of the grove stability, support, and whatever they need to survive. If a particular tree in the grove is weak, it can draw nutrients from the others to not only survive but thrive well enough to later do the same for other trees in the grove. Each tree is uniquely different from each other, but it thrives by communicating what it needs in and listening to the needs of others.
As we move through a changing season, I hope that that you don’t feel alone, but that you are growing in community with your colleagues and other educators in this important work of Christian education. As you do good work and walk your journey, be on the lookout for others to invite into the professional community of CACE.
Happy Fall 2021,
Senior CACE Fellow