Nature & You: In nature, everything happens for a reason
Everything happens for a reason
Nobody would ever refer to me as a walking encyclopedia. I don't have all of the answers. Many aspects of the natural world escape my understanding.
What I do know is this: In almost every instance, Ma Nature does things for a reason; she doesn't just willy-nilly do things just for the fun of it.
Let's consider the blackjack oak. It grows in abundance on the eastern fringe of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
Please explain to me why this one specific example of Oklahoma native tree species has the very peculiar aspect of tenaciously retaining all of her lower tree branches. That growth habit seems to fly in the face of the fact that these lower branches on the tree are long-since dead and seem to fulfill no useful purpose.
This one has me really puzzled.
It's pretty darn obvious why these lower tree branches are dead. No life-giving sunshine can penetrate to that part of the tree, so the tree has jettisoned her fueling of water and nutrients to these now-useless tree limbs.
But still, why does the tree hold onto these tree limbs? If the tree limbs were, instead, allowed to fall to the ground, creatures in the soil would quickly initiate the decomposition process and allow the dead tree material to be converted into beneficial mulch.
I've also got to wonder why the tree has all of this fuel that close to the earth's surface where wildfires could quickly use the material, ladderlike, to climb up into the tree's living canopy.
I'd engage the tree in conversation, but all that I would get in return would be mute silence.
And, besides, I'd look pretty silly standing there shouting at a tree!
— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor
Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.