St. Andrew’s Creation News

November 9, 2023

Transitional Areas

Today’s Creation News created by The Rev. Laura Murray

There is something about in-between, transitional, liminal places that has always appealed to me. Often, in our determination to get from here to there, we overlook what is lingering in-between. But it is in the in-betweens, in the areas easily overlooked, or maybe just “gotten through,” that life is busily underway. It is in the in-betweens that the bodies of salmon acquire a taste for the saltiness of the sea; and hidden high up in the canopies of ancient maples, in between the forest floor and the sky, old moss creates new earth on gnarled branches and roots reach out from trunks to find nitrogen in this nascent soil. Tide pools in between sea and shore hold mini metropolises of inhabitants tucked securely between rocks. Teeny crabs peek out of their shells in wonder at the exposed sky, others scuttle beneath the sheltering kelp and seaweed, while limpets and barnacles remain steady in their watch like sentinels awaiting the tide.

And then, there is the in-between of the subalpine zone.

I’ve always been one of those people who liked the *idea* of hiking more than actually hiking. Most of the reason, I suspect, is my strong dislike for walking uphill; however, when I see pictures of the subalpine in-between forest and rock, I wonder if it could happen, if somehow, I might overcome my anxieties about altitude enough to see for myself the beauty there. Then, I remember I have been to the subalpine! Every single time I’ve followed the road up to Hurricane Ridge, I ended up in the subalpine. And I’ve experienced its beauty in all seasons. Once, when I was in my twenties, I was there in the middle of winter and little gray jays would land on my hand to nab a bit of cracker. I’ve been there in the spring when wildflowers are blooming, and there was one time I’m pretty sure I saw a badger off one of the trails.

Maybe that’s the thing about in-betweens—they are always so full of surprises. There is always more to discover than what we might see at first. Turn over a rock at low tide and discover tiny crabs and miniature fish. Or anemones patiently waiting for waves to deliver their lunches. Those moss-laden branches high overhead are thrumming with life—nematodes and micro-arthropods. Riparian zones along rivers and creeks are full of plants that help to remove sediments and excess nutrients from runoff; their trees provide shade which cools the currents allowing young fish to thrive.

Life is relentless, abundant; and, it mostly happens in between. We will soon be transitioning out of “ordinary time” in the church. The season in between the fire of Pentecost and the expectation of Advent. Before we know it, we will again participate in incarnation and resurrection, but it is this in-between season where, as Jesus teaches, we grow and learn and prepare for what’s next.

Check out this cool study from University of West Virginia on Olympic National Park’s mossy maples!

For a short video of our mossy maples click the arrow below.

Looking For Life In The Canopy

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Wherever you are in your journey of faith, you are welcome at the Lord's Table. For those who cannot attend in person, the service is offered via livestream on our Facebook page or anytime on our website.

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