Life as an Aspen Tree

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  • If you follow my blog you’ll know that many times I talk about looking to Nature for answers to life’s mysteries. For me, no matter the question, if I spend time in the woods I’ll find the answer.

    Nature has a wisdom to it that can teach us so much- if we pay attention.


    The aspen tree is the perfect example. The leaves of the quaking aspen have an unusual ability to twist and bend to protect the trees from severe winds. Their twisting motion helps the tree to dissipate the energy more uniformly throughout the canopy- to reduce the stress on the tree. Additionally, the quaking movement is thought to aid in the tree’s growth, because the constant movement increases the intake of air by the leaves. Lastly, moving the leaves increases the ability for sunlight to shine on the lower leaves, thereby improving the rate of photosynthesis for the trees.

    Or perhaps I should say TREE (singular).

    Aspens are unique in that a forest of trees can be actually one tree. Aspens grow in large colonies derived from a single seedling and spread the roots to create new trees. The new saplings may appear as far as 30-40 meters from the parent tree, yet they are a part of the same system. The individual trees may live 40-150 years above the ground but the roots can live for thousands of years. There is one colony in Utah that is believed to be over 80,000 years old! Aspen colonies can even survive forest fires because their roots are so well protected.

    And because the colony is actually one system, they are quite generous to what could appear to be ” another tree”. If a tree on one side of the forest is thirsty, the trees will work in unison to pass water through the root system to the ailing tree from one that is in an area where water is more abundant. If another needs nutrients or minerals, again it will be passed through the root system from one tree to the one in need. How cool is that?

    Imagine a world where we all acted like aspen trees….

    Recognize and appreciate that movement helps us grow.

    – Move aside to help and encourage the sunlight to shine on those below us.

    – Share energy and stress with one another as a unit- so that we can better handle the ups and downs of life.

    – When someone is in need, share our abundance, knowing that as a part of the whole, we can never truly be in need.

    – Know that we are all one, with no need for competition.

    – Know that our roots are deep and can withstand even the worst of disasters.

    Just like the aspen tree, we are all connected to one another at the source of our being. The basic premise of all religions is that we are one. We are all brothers and sisters, just like the aspen tree. We are all a part of something so much greater than our individual selves. We are connected by our roots.

    For me, in this realization, there is beauty and there is peace. Peace in knowing that we are not alone. Peace in knowing that even when the winds of life are cold and blowing hard, all we need to do is turn our leaves and allow the colony- our community- to shoulder the burden with us, for we are all connected.

    On those beautiful, easy days filled with the warm sunshine, remember to step aside and allow the sun to shine on those less fortunate.

    Nature does have a lot to offer, if we pay attention. I’m going for a walk in the woods today to see what lessons Nature has in store for me. Please share your insights with our community- your fellow aspen trees. And just like that drink of water shared from one part of the colony to another, if one of us shares a nugget of wisdom and passes it through our roots to the other “trees”, we all benefit. I like being an aspen tree. 🙂

    Gail Lynne Goodwin

    Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of InspireMeToday.com, bringing the best inspiration to the world. InspireMeToday.com provides free inspiration, each day from a new Inspirational Luminary, to a global community of folks from over 150 countries. Gail has interviewed many well-known names including Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gerber, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield and hundreds more. According to Mashable, Gail was one of 2009's Top 25 Most Inspirational People on Twitter. Prior to InspireMeToday.com, Gail spent several years as manager for her recording artist daughter, Carly. As a result of the success of their co-penned song, "Baby Come Back Home", Gail accompanied her daughter to bases in the US and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Carly performed for our troops. Gail and Carly created the 'World's Longest Letter' of love and support and delivered the 18-mile long scroll on a month-long tour of Iraq and the Persian Gulf in 2006. Gail is excited to present her latest course, Love in 21 Days, a step-by-step guide to finding love online. Love in 21 Days is founded on a logical process that has been tested - and proven! - by not only Gail, but also by students around the world who too have found love. Gail is a published author and a regular writer for the Huffington Post. She offers mentoring and mastermind services to clients worldwide from her home in Whitefish, Montana. Follow Gail on Twitter or Google+.

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