Before I share this complicated metaphor (lol - you know me) - it would help to know that *a Quaking Aspen tree propagates by using a rhizome There can be acres and acres of one Aspen Forest, that are all clones of each other, coming from one single root system. Secondly most of you know that the last 3 years have had a lot of loss, this last year being the pinnacle. So as I was sitting outside on the porch today, and I tried to put into words what I feel inside - this is what my pen wrote.... As the root to my beautiful Quaking Aspen Grove, I shudder with the reality that most of my forest was just destroyed. A raging hot fire, swept through relentlessly without giving a second thought to the life it was destroying. It took down the part of the forest that so many others delighted in; sought shade from; the glorious part where the leaves quaked and clapped in the wind; the fertilized part that had grown full in its glory; that had creatures using it for refuge and food; where birds whistled from the crests of the upper boughs; and where the sun dappled the leaves creating designs that danced into twilight. The fire, without mercy, destroyed an entire ecosystem that held so much joy. From outward appearances nothing is left of my grove. The few trees that survived were on the other side of the hill. They are thin fledglings, that rarely got sun, let alone noticed. In fact I did not even know this small grove existed. They took virtually no water; and were shrouded by the larger forest, leaving them crooked, ugly little saps. Yet now, all of the water that pumped fervently through my soul was funneled to just those little shoots, and the sun shone on them radiantly, since the other trees no longer towered. They could grow into a forest just as beautiful as the other, if they chose. Yet some were scared to be in so much light, others were mad that they did not have the big trees shielding them from the wind and elements, some were outraged that the other animals wanted to seek them out for food and refuge, and others annoyed that birds wanted to make noise from their branches. It was all new, uncomfortable, foreign, and it created a complete malfunction in the symbiosis of my grove. All I could do is hope. It is all I had as I gently gave them all the benefits the other trees had. Sunshine, water, love; yet it was up to those new sprouts to decide how tall they wanted to become; how much shade they wanted to offer, how many birds they would allow to sing; how much they would decide to flourish and become beautiful. I laid awake at night, fearful, and full of trepidation, that the fledgling trees would yield to their fears, discomfort, and pain, and simply give up.Their lack of courage to face the elements and overcome, would be my demise. I would die a sudden death, without my new grove finding their strength, their destiny, their mission. I needed all of them to grow into all they could possibly be, in order for the grove to once again become a vibrant source of energy, oxygen, beauty, housing, and food - yet the decision for all of us rested within their boughs.