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Nature Can Inspire Your Family History Research

Updated on June 20, 2016
Photo by Casey Carden
Photo by Casey Carden

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.

Photo by Linda Crist
Photo by Linda Crist

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?

Photo by Linda Crist
Photo by Linda Crist

Destiny

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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  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 2 years ago from Central Virginia

    delia-delia. Thank you!!!!!

  • delia-delia profile image

    Delia 2 years ago

    What a great read! I agree with the comparison of trees...

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Cindy, share anything you want to share. I love getting feedback and I appreciate the negative as well as the positive. It really helps me grow. I'm so glad you are finding some pleasure in my writing. I'm new so it really means a lot.

  • Cindy Riley profile image

    Cindy Riley 5 years ago from Marana

    Thanks rc7815 I am glad you do not mind me sharing. I would love to share more of your hubs. You are an awesome writer. You sure know how to drawl someone's attention to what you write. I love viewing other writers work on here. I learn so much from others. I agree with @ Peggy W, This is a wonderful way to compare life lessons as taught by observing nature as contrasted or compared to human/family relations. Thanks so much. Love your work.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    I am glad you enjoyed it enough to share it Cindy. Thank you for reading and commenting and...sharing.

  • Cindy Riley profile image

    Cindy Riley 5 years ago from Marana

    Thanks I shared this hub on facebook. Awesome Hub.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you so, so much Peggy W. I am so happy that you enjoyed it. I learn so many life lessons from just spending time in nature and I love to share the stories. I appreciate your sharing my little moment with your followers too. Thanks for stopping by. It means a lot to me.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    What a wonderful analogy to life lessons as taught by observing nature as contrasted or compared to human/family relations. Loved this! Voted up, interesting, beautiful and will share with my followers.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks Trees. I appreciate the feedback so much.

  • Trees for me profile image

    Trees for me 5 years ago from www.treesforme.com

    Love Love Love it!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    CyberS - thank you so much for your comments. 6 million trees? Wow! Lucky you!

  • CyberShelley profile image

    Shelley Watson 5 years ago

    lrc7815. I live in Johannesburg and am lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful trees, in fact 6 million trees - our city has the most trees per square mile, than any other city in the world! Loved how you linked trees to people and who they are in life, when I look at my son, my husband and then his father - It is amazing how the apple doesn't in fact fall far from the tree! Voted awesome and up!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Inglenook - I totally hear you. Kilmer's words are also one of my favorites. Much to be learned if we will only take the time. Sorry about your elms. :-(

  • InglenookObserver profile image

    InglenookObserver 5 years ago from Southwestern Wisconsin

    Thanks for this IRC7815. I don't so much think about them as "feel" them. I grew up in a town where all the streets were lined with elms...you know what happened to them. It just broke my child's heart. The first time I was really deeply touched by a poem, outside of the prayers I learned as a child, was when we read Joyce Kilmer's "I Think That I Shall Never See". And what he says is true for me.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you so much. Trees make me think a lot. Sometimes too much. lol

  • Melis Ann profile image

    Melis Ann 5 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

    As an environmentalist and fellow family tree researcher, I really love these analogies that you made. Thanks for SHARING!