Following the Aspens

Aspens in the Forest ©Lynne Buchanan

Since moving to Florida in 2002, one of the things I have missed most is the changing of the seasons––especially fall colors.  When I planned this trip, I did not realize that I would actually be following the aspens in peak color.  In Jackson, they were peak.  Then I went to Santa Fe and drove up to the ski areas and the aspens were peak there too.  I went back to my cousin’s in Salt Lake City and the aspens were in peak with snow on the ground.  Next, I drove down to Escalante and the aspens were in peak all the way there and there were huge hillsides of them.  Below are a few examples of the beauty I was blessed enough to experience. 
Aspens in Millcreek Camyon ©Lynne Buchanan

Aspen Trunks ©Lynne Buchanan

Aspens with Starburst ©Lynne Buchanan

Aspens with View of Capitol Reef ©Lynne Buchanan

Fall Color in the Grand Tetons ©Lynne Buchanan

There are many reasons that aspens are one of my all time favorite trees––their delicate trunks that gently twist and turn in the light as they reach for the sun, their beautiful leaves which quiver and quake in the breeze making a poetic sound that is music to my ears.  These are the sensual, ephemeral reasons why I love these trees.  The deeper more philosophic reason is the way they are all part of a single organism while each one retains its individual form.  If one tree gets sick, they all pool their resources to send that tree what it needs to heal.  They are such delicate trees that I often think it would be difficult for particular ones to survive if they did not work together in such profound and giving ways.   For me, they are a symbol of how as human beings we could exist in much better alignment if we only shifted our perspective away from an egocentric mode of being.  We do not need to be powerful, unrelenting, and stubborn to get our way in life.  We could realize that it is okay to show our softer side, to know that we are just one small part of the web of life and that this is just the way it should be.  We would not be fearful, as we acknowledged our place in life, as we would know that our brothers and sisters were all there supporting us, as well as the sun and the rain and all the elements of the earth.  As I have been walking through the aspen-filled woods across the west, I have been touching the trunks of these trees thanking them for their wisdom and the many ways they inspire me each day.