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Family Trees

Published online: Nov 29, 2021 Articles, East Idaho Weddings Emily FitzPatrick
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In Mrs. Branch’s art class at Enterprise Elementary, I learned how to draw trees. You start with the stump, drawing two slightly curved lines. Then, the branches, stemming from the middle of the stump. And finally the leaves, but I liked to skip that portion. My favorite part was the branches. I could spend hours letting them branch out. I’m sure if you were to scan through my old notebooks, you would find many trees edged between math problems. 

Although I learned the art of drawing a tree before I could write coherent sentences, I still don’t entirely get why we frequently refer to written versions of our lineage as family trees. Maybe I’m just dense, but the idea that we’re all fruits hanging off of one enormous tree never made much sense to me. Have you ever seen such a tree around Idaho? I certainly haven’t, but if I relax my hyper-realism I can see how the analogy holds some weight, at least when it comes to the branches of those trees. 

We are all linked. When I draw tree branches, I can never manage to get far before they become linked or tangled, with branches starting from one side of the page quickly overlapping onto the other. That doesn’t mean we’re all related, but our experiences and especially our pasts tend to overlap with others, even with people we don’t know. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to a complete stranger only to find we have a friend or an interest held in common. It can be a jarring but wonderful experience to realize how much our lives intertwine with those around us. We’re all from the same tree, even if our branches are shaped a bit different or only briefly crossing because of a breeze.

In truth, just like the use of trees to represent family ties, this month’s combination of weddings and history can seem like an odd one from a distance. However, there is a reason the tradition of carrying something old and something borrowed continues to exist in modern society. Where we come from is just as important as where we are going next. In this month’s issue you will find stories detailing the lives of prominent people of the past from East Idaho and how to plan for the future celebrations surrounding a marriage and life’s other big moments. 

Click here to read more of the November issue of Idaho Falls Magazine.


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