author moments, travel

Local Symbols

On a recent trip to wintry Utah, we walked through a forest of aspen trees. Our guide on the adventure talked about the way the trees are all connected through their root systems. Utah has the aspen tree as a state symbol. It is meant to remind that we all connect through our roots. We are all interdependent and intertwined. We depend on the same earth for nourishment and sustenance. We are inseparable from one another in meaningful, sometimes hidden ways.

And still, each tree comes up as an individual. We all appear to stand on our own, with our own strength. Don’t forget your roots, though. Those connections make it harder to pull us out of the ground.

As I walked through a souvenir shop in the same town, I saw a sign on the back of a display…Utah is the Beehive State. My travel buddy had wondered at the strange almost poo-like shape on road signs…now the answer! A beehive. I said something to the shop owner and he chimed in about the origins of the symbol which came with the early Mormon settlers. The hive speaks about working as a unit. Staying together. Creating a sweet reward at the end. The land of Milk and Honey.

In a time where a feeling of community often seems lost, both of these symbols stuck with me. So too did each of the people who shared their meanings with such confidence and eloquence. We are all connected and working together seems necessary to make things that are beneficial and meaningful. A couple of random insights from recent travels.

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