Nature Can Inspire Your Family History Research
I generally write about family trees and the things I've learned by researching my family. I describe myself as a student of the process, a beginner, even after 30+ years. My passion is fueled by the unexpected. Sometimes after hours and hours of research the frustration of not finding anything is overwhelming. But I keep coming back to it and then alas - there it is - the little piece that leads you down a whole new path of names and dates. Stories unfold and new information takes its place in my database. It is like this in nature too and I guess that's why I am so fascinated and just as passionate about trees in nature. You know, the kind that have real bark and green, velvety leaves?
It is easy to see the parallels between real trees in nature and the family tree you are researching. Perhaps it is the deep roots of natural trees, that remind us that our families have been here for centuries, weathered a few storms, are sometimes a little scarred but, still standing. Perhaps it is in recognizing that just as real trees adjust in the forest, to allow new growth, our families do the same. When life challenges us, we adjust, but we remain standing.
In nature, it is the tallest and strongest trees that get the most sunlight, soak up the most rain, and bend with the wind. Likewise in families. There are those who seem to demand more attention, accomplish bigger things in life, and seem to achieve the most financial reward. And others, well, they seem to just go unnoticed most of the time and rarely get attention for the things they've done. But bigger isn't always better. Look at the community of trees in the forest. It is the small ones, the ones with branches low to the ground, that provide shelter for the critters of the forest. It is the small ones whose tiny little roots take hold and prepare themselves to take their place in the community when the strong winds snap those big tall trees like a twig.
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Looking Past the Obvious
As I age, I find myself thinking more and more about the similarities between our human trees and trees in nature. It is in the quiet landscape of nature that I have learned some of my most important life lessons. Look at this photo. At first you might think it's ugly, well at the least you might say, it's not so pretty. To me it speaks of the diversity of the trees. Yes, there is a pecking order, even in nature but in the natural world, it is accepted. In our human world, we resist it, and sometimes even rebel against it. In nature, it seems to be accepted that some trees will thrive and others will struggle or even die.But if trees could speak to us, I think they would tell us that all is not as it seems. Isn't it possible that those little trees are serving as ground covers for the large ones? Do they not hold the water close to the roots for the thirsty big ones? And don't the large ones serve as guardians, protecting the small ones from the strong winds of summer storms, and the frigid ice of winter?
In families, we can't all be the beautiful tree with flowery branches. Some are destined to be the little one, with barely enough leaves to be called a tree, but we still have purpose. It may be that we're stroking the ego of our more handsome relative or providing shelter for the children who got lost in the chaos of a divorce. Maybe we're only here to listen, to gather the stories from the more accomplished of our relatives, so that the stories will become part of the fabric of our family history. The point is, in nature, everything has a season and a purpose. And so it is in human nature. It is simply up to us to discover our purpose.
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.
Listen with your heart!
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