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Aspen Tree Metaphor

Aspens are unique among the earth's trees as they do not typically grow from individual seeds, but sprout from common root systems. Aspens sharing the same root system are called clones. They share the same genetics. They are part of the same family. When viewing an aspen forest in early autumn you may see one cluster of aspens changing colors while others remain green. This illustrates the genetic differences between aspen families. Human families differ in genetics, culture, and appearance as well, but none can survive and succeed without a healthy home environment in which to grow and develop.

Aspen families share strengths and weaknesses. Some clusters are strong and healthy, while others are weak and diseased. Similar conditions exist within our own families. We may be weak or suffer with disease, but with proper nutrients and an improved environment we can heal and be made strong again. This is the design and purpose of S4F. The goal is to supply the necessary nutrients for healthy family growth. As illustrated on this page, the whole ecology of the aspen tree is a metaphor that we can learn from and apply to our own lives.

Leaves convert water, sun, and carbon into energy to sustain the tree. Symbolically they represent everything we do that sustains and feeds our families. Even when leaves return to the soil they continue to give. This concept applies to our efforts. Even after we are gone, our life's work continues to nurture and enrich our family.

Branches grow outward increasing a tree's access to sunlight. Intertwined with  other trees, they provide stability and protection from the elements. As a metaphor they represent reaching out and connecting with the world around us. Our connections with others, especially in our family, define our success and joy in life.

Trunks of healthy trees transport moisture and nutrients from the roots to their branches and leaves. The strength and stability of the trunk determines the height of the tree. Healthy trees can leave the shadowed darkness of the forest floor and grow upward into the light. This illustrates the need to strengthen and stabilize our family and guard against sources of decay that would otherwise weaken us.

Roots, while buried deep in the soil, draw moisture and nutrients from the earth. The health of a tree is determined by the strength of its roots. The same concept applies to human families. If families are rooted in correct, postive thinking and practices, they will experience growth. If not, decay and even death can result.

Soil is composed of minerals and nutrients from all the life that came before. The soil is the environment from which new life springs. As a metaphor, soil represents our beginnings, or the environment in which each generation of our family is born and raised. If the soil is rich in nutrients, the rising generation will do well. If not, we must work to enrich it so that all may benefit.