I spent time learning about trees this weekend. The gentleman teaching talked about the “magic” of buds and the energy they possess to make leaves. When he said “magic” I immediately thought of God. God’s behind the “magic” of buds. Learning about God’s creation and the systems created bring a more tangible insight to God’s AWE-someness. I can now look at a branch and see the new growth and how much growth it had the year before. Awesome!

I’m mulling over something else that took place in class. I want to know the names of trees. I want to see it and name it. It’s more personal when I know names. Or is it?

In class, we paired up and pulled a leaf out of a bag. We were asked not to name the tree from which it came, instead we were asked to write 7-10 descriptions about the leaves. I could name several trees when I looked at the leaves around the room, but not ours. So, my partner and I were looking at an unknown tree leaf. We started feeling it, counting points, recognizing veins and vein patterns. We worried because we were unsure of official words and their meanings like “pinnate” or “petiole.” So, we used our laypersons terms. We then returned our leaves to the bag and someone picked up our descriptions. The leaves were laid out on a table and each pair got a description of a new leaf and had to pick it out from all the leaves on the table.

Why would our instructors make us do this exercise? If I had gotten the tulip poplar, redbud or sweet gum leaf, how would I have described the leaf knowing the name of the tree?

Recently, a tree caught my attention. I hopped off my bike and took a look at the leaves. I observed. The next day, I was walking and I recognized a leaf. I realized it was the same species as the tree I had seen a day earlier and about a half a mile away. I’m still not exactly sure of the name, but I knew it was the same species because I had taken the time to observe the leaves.

Go outside and observe some leaves. Pick a leaf and write down 7 things to describe it.

If you want to play a game head over to the FB or twitter pages and go on a #leafhunt.