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. 🙂