Sunday, October 8, 2023

#281 / Meet Jack Pine


Jack Pine is not a person, though the name seems suited. Jack Pine is a tree, as pictured above. I became acquainted with Jack Pine in one of the Pendle Hill Pamphlets that come to me every couple of months or so (six per year). By checking my collection, I find that I have been reading Pendle Hill Pamphlets since I first put in my subscription back in 1964. I do have a few single copies, of earlier pamphlets, but beginning with Pamphlet #137, Revelation and Experience, I have every one. 

Pendle Hill Pamphlet #474, which was issued in 2022, is titled, Walking With The Bible. In a prefatory section, "About the Authors," I found the following: 

In this time of social transition, Carl [Carl Magruder, one of the authors of the pamphlet] wonders at the jack pine, whose cones only open and germinate in fire.....

As indicated, I was not (to the best of my recollection, at least) acquainted with this fact about Jack Pine until I read about the tree in the Pendle Hill Pamphlet. According to what Wikipedia tells us, "the cones on mature trees are serotinous. They open when exposed to intense heat, greater than or equal to 50 °C (122 °F). The typical case is in a fire, however cones on the lower branches can open when temperatures reach 27 °C (81 °F) due to the heat being reflected off the ground."

I like to find physical metaphors for the kind of changes that we experience in our "Human World." Examples, in other words, of things that we might not find plausible - except that they can be demonstrated as genuine, physical fact. 

I particularly like to cite to the phenomenon of the "supersaturated solution." If you don't know about this phenomenon, click the link above, or click this one, to read something about it. I use supersaturated solutions as a metaphor for where we are, today, socially, economically, and otherwise. There may seem to be no promise of any change in the offing, but then..... Maybe we are in a kind of "supersaturated solution" condition, socially, politically, and economically speaking. 

That's a hopeful thought. Honestly, if you don't know about supersaturated solutions, try reading up on them. Fascinating!

And... Thinking about supersaturated solutions, and about our situation, right now - right at this time - is hopeful, too. At least, that is my take on it.

I have the same feeling about Jack Pine. There is some hope in believing that new growth and transformative change can be triggered in nature by extreme temperatures. Maybe that's true in our lives, too! Maybe something new really is coming, triggered by all the global warming changes we are experiencing, and more of which we can reliably predict are coming down upon us. 

The incineration of Lahaina, happening just a couple of months ago.... Could that have released some new energies, new life? I would like to think so. 

As I say, I am looking around for hopeful signs, for some hopeful metaphors. 

You can study up on supersaturated solutions, and if you didn't know him before, meet Jack Pine!

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