The Earth is a healer.

We all know that most of the drugs hawked to us every day in every way have their origins in plants. The drug industry has tweaked them mercilessly, true, but the effective ingredients remain those of Mother Earth.

On our pond walk last week we were looking for evidence of our little beaver, which we found in abundance. But we also found evidence of Earth’s amazing tendency to survive, and to do it well. “Our” beaver works incessantly to fell trees, and we saw his work around the entire pond. But we also saw this:


Apparently some time last year the Busy Beav began work on this birch. Quite a task for a newly minted bachelor: the tree is about 18″ in diameter. That didn’t stop him, of course, so he munched away for quite awhile. Somewhere along the line he moved on to better possibilities, though, leaving this trunk with a raw wound.

Think about it. If someone chewed on your ribcage until a nice six- or seven-inch dent was made, what would you do? Die, probably.

But that’s not what happened to the birch. Some medicinal magic was afoot, and over the year or so since the injury the wound has begun to heal over. Oh, there will always be a dent here, for sure. But the tree stands tall and firm. Sap still runs freely in what is left of the trunk, and clearly it is enough to sustain its life.

Nature seems to be able to determine when a wound is lethal ā€” and when it is not. Apparently that decision has nothing to do with what a human might decide; I would have pronounced this guy dead the minute I saw the gouge. But Mother Earth is a wise and patient healer, and she knows when to call it quits and when to quietly move on.

Here, she moved on. So a new skin is forming over the wound. This birch will live a good long time ā€” unless, of course, our little beaver returns for another try. We’ll just have to see what comes next. For now, though, the tree is healthy and strong. And in some way, even lovelier for its “damage”.

Wouldn’t it be something if we could see our own wounded-and-healing selves this way?

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