Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Regeneration is a powerful thing. The impulse to renew and regrow, to rise Phoenix-like from a heap of ashes, is not only a characteristic of life but of the Earth itself.

In August 1883, the Sunda Strait - between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra - was rocked by the most titanic explosion in recorded history, the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano. That eruption generated tsunamis and pyroclastic flows that killed over 36,000 people as well as a sound loud enough to be heard almost 3,000 miles away. The atmospheric pressure wave created by the explosion circled the planet seven times; the dust lofted into the stratosphere gave rise to several years of beautiful sunsets and noticeably cooler weather around the globe. A crater in the sea floor was all that was left to mark where a mighty mountain had once stood.

And yet...

Beginning in late 1927, subsequent eruptions in the very same spot caused a new volcanic mountain to rear its head above the waves of the Sunda Strait. That new mountain - born of the Earth’s self-renewing impulse - was named Anak Krakatau: Son of Krakatoa.

I thought of Anak Krakatau while driving in - of all places! - eastern Tennessee. We had been visiting Eric and had driven past the place where once stood the mighty Kaboom Tree.

Ah, the Kaboom Tree! Formerly the location of many a wayward driver’s demise (owing to its strategic placement right next to a sharp curve in a narrow country road), the Kaboom Tree had been grievously injured by tornado winds a few years back. All that remained was a stump.

And yet...

From that stump new life was a-sprouting, yet more evidence of life’s burning urge for self-renewal and regrowth.

Anak Kaboom
New growth sprouts from the stump of the infamous Kaboom Tree.

As I looked at that improbable young sapling, I thought of Atlanta, great parts of which were burned to the ground during the Civil War and which, nearly 150 years later, is a thriving American metropolis. It is not surprising that the city motto is Resurgens: rising again. And I thought of Anak Krakatau, heaving itself up from the ocean floor where its mighty predecessor once stood.

What else to call that sapling but Anak Kaboom?

And who knows but that, a century hence, Anak Kaboom will stand astride that country lane, grown tall and thick of trunk, there to terrify new generations of McMinn County drivers?


Rahel said...

In Hebrew, "anak"="giant."

Aaron said...

"Krakatoa" What happens when an Italian stubs their toe.

Jim - PRS said...

The first time I encountered the Kaboom tree, it damned near ate the car.

Anonymous said...

..... I, sir, am without words..... that was a beautiful post....


Kevin Kim said...

I've heard theories that the "Anakin" of "Anakin Skywalker" was derived from the biblical "Anakim," mentioned by Rahel above.

Maurice said...

I am a pastor, as part of my sermon this week I will be speaking from this passage in the book of Job: Job 14:7 ¶ "For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And its shoots will not fail.

Job 14:8 "Though its roots grow old in the ground, And its stump dies in the dry soil,

Job 14:9 At the scent of water it will flourish And put forth sprigs like a plant.

Went looking for a picture to put with those words, ran across your blog. In my circles we would say about your blog: "That'll Preach!" Excellent. Thanks