I’ve spent time over several summers at a wonderful dude ranch in Colorado. While I’m there, I hear the soothing yet powerful sounds of the Middle St. Vrain River out my cabin window. The sounds of the river help me feel safe and content. I also spend the better part of every day I’m there riding horses. I ride on mountain trails, in beautiful valleys, and across many streams and rivers. Sometimes the horses walk.  And sometimes the horses really get to run. There are few things that are as exhilarating as holding on to the reigns with one hand and to your hat with another as a horse lopes through a smooth, breezy mountain valley.

And there are also few things that cause the kind of pain one feels after an all day horseback ride – walking, trotting, and running.

There are aspen trees along many of the mountain trails I’ve traveled.  The taste of the aspen leaves is highly bitter. (It’s common to hear one who as tasted the bitter leaves let someone else discover the bitterness by saying, “Taste these leaves – they taste like root beer!” They don’t taste like root beer.) The aspen leaves also have pain relieving properties.  The leaves contain salicylates. When one chews on the leaves, they get similar pain relief to that brought on by aspirin. 

The aspen tree, among many other things, is for the healing of the soreness of horseback riding.

The aspen tree isn’t the only one whose leaves have medicinal properties.  In the Bible reading from Revelation 22:1-5, trees are lined along the river of the water life have leaves that are for the healing of the nations.

I bet the leaves don’t even taste bitter. Can we have those trees now?

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