Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sepia Saturday - Tree Memories

Reuss-Beyersdoerfer Clan
The suggested Sepia Saturday theme for this week, trees, inspired me to look back on my own family tree memories, and what better way to celebrate genealogy than by honoring the image of the tree. I attempted to pull some sepia images from my family collection - but as other bloggers have learned today, there are not many "tree" photos in our collections. The family image that you see to the left is my favorite "tree" image. To see this family group, standing proudly in front of this equally proud tree that towers over them demonstrates a perfect blend of history and symbolism.

My other favorite family image that includes a tree is this one of the Cox family in Pendleton County Kentucky. Most family group images we have utilize a more family focused composition. In other words, close enough to only see the people. This family photographer took a little artistic license and let the trees be even more prominent than the human subjects - or perhaps they were so new at taking pictures that they forgot to get closer.....either way, we get to see the expansiveness of the trees on this property, and not just the expansiveness of the prolific family unit!
Within my other family memories, trees have played a prominent role. I spent a huge chunk of my youth and adolescence traipsing around, climbing, drawing and adoring trees. I was an outdoors kid all the way. Nature and all of its complexity was, and still is, a dear friend. This image is from my grandparents farm in Bourbon County Kentucky - an old walnut tree that sits between a small field and the vegetable garden. That farm was not only a source of spiritual and mental health for me, almost as necessary as oxygen, but it also embodied all of the love my grandparents bestowed upon us when visiting. And don't get me started on the adventures! So many I cannot count! As a side note, this farm in the far western part of the county was certified a few years ago as home to the second largest tree in the state of Kentucky! An amazing old burr oak tree that sits in a valley, just below one of the ponds. Each tree branch is the size of a large tree trunk.....awe inspiring.

I have always regarded genealogy as somewhat of a spiritual journey. There is nothing as humbling as looking back across the generations and realizing that you are merely one addition to the long string of people that have come before you. Soon, you too will be nothing more than someone's memory. But in this realization, it bolsters my belief in life eternal. Time is ever flowing. And yet, when I think of the spiritual realm, and perhaps the place where our ancestors reside, there is no time. This final tree was captured on "film" just this past June while hiking up to Laurel Falls in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We all learned in school that the trees we see above the soil have a duplicate existence in size and proportion below the soil in the form of roots. I can remember thinking, as a child, that had to be a load of bunk.....they were asking us to believe in something we could not see. This is just another example of nature demonstrating to us that we only understand a small portion of the world we encounter. I've also heard it said that the spiritual realm is just as real as the world we can see with our eyes, like this tree and its roots - and if our roots are as important as most genealogists believe, our journey is never finite.


Little Nell said...

An excellent post Cheri. I enjoyed your words as much as the pictures. Very thought-provoking.

Postcardy said...

The tree in the first photo makes a perfect "family tree."

Bob Scotney said...

Your last tree looks as if it is clinging on for all its worth. Fine family tree and 19 people in the second group is some family to match the trees.

Tattered and Lost said...

What a fascinating tree with its roots exposed. You see where it's from and where it's going in one glance.

Mike Brubaker said...

A nice essay on the theme. Witness trees, family trees, memorial trees, they all tie families together. Everyone should have several.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates