Pep Talk: “A Birthday Gift”

July 3, 2017

It was evening after a beloved group hiked from Vail Village to the mountaintop. Four miles and about two-thousand vertical feet. A good trek. Dinner was being prepared. Patriotic folks, beneath the breathtaking Gore Range, celebrating our nation’s 241st birthday. Blessed to be alive.

My mind marinates on roots. Yep. Roots. As the GansIntosh crew ascended Strawberry Lane then Berry PIcker Trail, when in the cool shade of Aspen groves, there were roots. Everywhere. Tangled but connected. Most often, crossing a path in search of one another.
When blessed to encourage others and share the importance of teamwork, your knucklehead scribe loves a story about a similar tree. Blame Hall of Fame football coach Bill McCartney. Nobody is bigger about teamwork than the guy who led the Colorado Buffaloes to a 1991 national championship.
United. As Mac would say, “Charging from the fox hole together.” Amen dude. According to Coach Mac, few do it better than Redwood trees. Hard to disagree. The tallest trees in North America remain tall thanks to horizontal root systems that grow toward one another. 

Before dinner, adorable, smart and athletic niece Shannon Schmitt, did a little research. After a Google inquiry, the 16-year-old pronounces, “Redwoods are clonal colonies.” So too, Aspens. Through connecting with one another, Redwoods and Aspens weather the storms of life. Help each other stand tall. A good thing! So, I’m trudging up a mountain with family and friends, feeling a bit patriotic and staring at tree roots. They cross the path, the divide, the whatever, and connect. They support one another.
Could it be the same for us?

I think of sitting in a recent Denver Dream Center staff meeting and hearing an intern talk about hanging out with young girls living in Denver’s public housing. These precious souls are isolated and vulnerable, especially to gang influence. Denver Dream Center goes into underserved parts of town and loves, in healthy and productive fashion, on kids and moms. Two young girls were bemoaning the end of a wonderful “date” with DDC interns. The kids felt like they had loving “big sisters.” Too many don’t have such relationships. They deserve and desire connective roots to positive role models.
While trudging up the trail on an absolutely gorgeous Centennial State day, the ol’ cranium, when thinking about connective roots, zips to our nation’s elderly. Through a partnership with Bessie’s Hope, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, A Stronger Cord encourages them. America’s seniors deserve and desire connective roots too.
It’s just the opinion of a simple dude from Missouri walking a mountain on a Fourth of July holiday, but America should emulate Redwoods and Aspens. Yep. How about embracing clonal colonies? Who gives a hoot whether we’re black, white or brown? Or, live in a mission, mansion or Main Street? 

In these turbulent times, America’s future success requires growing roots, clonal colonies, to one another. At 241 years, our participation in that effort would be a beneficial birthday gift to our nation’s future.

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