In this world there are such things as old growth forests. There are various types of perennial trees and some deciduous ones that comprise these statuesque monuments to nature. These forests can be quite vast and as a matter of fact I grew up living in one of them. Coconino National Forest is south of the Grand Canyon about one hour. It’s the largest ponderosa pine forest on Earth. These conifers put off a scent that smells very alike vanilla and in actuality are sometimes used to make imitation vanilla flavoring.

Another type of tree that grows along side the various pines is the aspen. Aspen trees are very unique amongst the deciduous types. These trees have a chemical in their bark which is very similar to the chemical in aspirin. Aspen bark is a beautiful snowy white and their leaves are shaped like spades. Another special thing about aspen is that they only grow in new growth forests. This means that they can only gain a foothold where there are no extant behemoth conifer canopies.

Aspen trees thrive, because of forest fires. The flames that ravaged the hillsides near my hometown of Flagstaff in the past, are the same flames that made room for new life; the life of aspens. One of my favorite places to go as a child was Hart Prairie, near the Arizona Snow Bowl. It’s truly awe inspiring with it’s frolicking aspen. These trees send curtains of orange, red, and yellow cascading about the white trunks and snow during fall.

In life sometimes terrible things have to take place in order for new growth to occur. Even in those dark days, when nothing seems to be going right, there is hope. There is hope for healing and things of beauty. Take solace in the mountains, find peace in the trees, and look to the sky for hope.


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