Welcome to my office, part 4: Symbolism

During my walks/runs through the park I enjoy looking at the trees. I love the varieties. I love the benefits they provide such as shade and fresh oxygen to breathe. I also love the stages they go through with the seasons, and the symbolism related to family and life stages.

How many of you have created a family tree to depict your own heritage? You know the type of diagram to which I’m referring. The roots and trunk represent a specific individual or couple and the branches represent the children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I am actually partial to family therapy theories that examine intergenerational influence. Good or bad, our past, and our interactions with our families have shaped who we are today and how we view life and our circumstance. Sometimes our family trees are pretty gnarly and ugly, yet proper nourishment, pruning, and care can produce good outcomes and every tree has a unique and special story to tell.

I am sure you’re also familiar with how trees change with the seasons. Right now, in the midst of summer, trees are full and green representing growth and strength. In the fall the leaves will turn the familiar golds, reds, oranges, and browns and fall off, representing change. During the winter many trees will be bare. Although many people believe this stage to represent death and grieving I have viewed trees in this stage a little differently. It is during the winter when we can really see a trees structure, it’s skeleton so to speak. It is then when we can see any scars or grafts, but also its potential. Underneath the dormant exterior lies strength and life that is merely taking a break in preparation for the seasons ahead. I also love seeing the bare outstretched branches reaching to the sky as if reaching for its life source. And finally, spring brings new buds and new growth symbolizing new beginnings and hope.

I am also fascinated by the types of trees native to different locations. The pictures included today are three views of one of many magnolia trees in Piedmont Park. Magnolia trees remind me of the several years I lived in Mississippi as a newlywed and where our oldest daughter was born. Another tree that reminds me of our time there on the Mississippi coast is the water oak. Seeing these trees reminds me of a time of new beginnings and on getting by on nearly no income. Palmetto trees remind me of South Carolina where I went to college and met my husband. The remind me of a newfound independence being away from home for the first time, but also remind me of many hot, sweaty band practices. Pine, dogwood, and peach trees remind me of my own roots as a Georgia girl…one who is ever thankful to be back home.

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Come take a walk with me and explore your roots or the stage of life in which you are currently. You might be surprised how your past has shaped the person you are right now. I can be reached at 404-895-1525 or Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com.

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