The lovely ginkgo trees scattered around Athens are beginning to emerge from their obscurity to take center stage in the annual production originally entitled……Autumn. They are so easily recognizable this time of year because of the brilliant yellow that begins to melt over their delicate fan shaped leaves from the top down as if paint has been neatly poured from Heaven above. The prettiest is one is on Milledge Circle. I encourage, no implore, you to go see it for yourself! I won’t even tell you exactly where it is so that it can be a delightful treasure hunt for you. You’re welcome!
This type of tree has a fascinating history for tree lovers such as myself. I must confess that I am a relatively new admirer of this unique species, but now I notice them everywhere. The ginkgo is one of the few living fossils that have remained relatively unchanged according to paleobotanic evidence dating back 270 million years. It has no obvious relation to any other plant, which is quite unusual. In the past there were a variety of ginkgo-like plants, but this is the only species surviving. Paleobotanists who study the ginkgo theorize that one reason the tree was so widespread in ancient times was that its seeds were easily and readily dispersed by the dinosaur species which ate the fruits. Upon the dinosaurs’ demise, the ginkgo also declined. Now humans help with the process by planting them.
This tree has an incredible life span with some in China reputed to be 4,000 years old. Give pause for thought about that…an actual tree that was here on Earth at the time that Abraham lived! Ginkgo’s have the reputation as an exceptionally tough tree as well. After the Western forces dropped atom bombs in Japan in 1945, half a dozen mature ginkgo trees within several hundred to 2,000 meters of the blast center in each city not only withstood the blast relatively intact, but also revived and continued to grow without evidence of deformity in the decades following the bombing. Are you sufficiently impressed?
So upon my scientific reporting of this amazing botanical, where is the Tree Star to be found among these fan-shaped leaves? When things draw me in and capture my attention so blatantly, I have to wonder what it reveals to me by the mere fact of its existence. After pondering, I found that it reminds me of God’s Grace and His promise through the resurrection of Jesus. It reminds me that this promise has been here for thousands of years….unchanged. It reminds me that it is uniquely unlike any other species of promises. It has withstood the blasts of human attempts to destroy it and continues to grow and thrive. It also reminds me that I can help disperse the seeds of this promise to let it grow and flourish in places that aren’t its natural habitat. I think that nature is the fingerprint of God so therefore, reminders of His love and promises are everywhere if I just take the time to notice.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16