Reverb 10 Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

This past year I found community in an unlikely place. I found it snowshoeing in Keystone, Colorado, among the Aspen trees.

Aspens, by their nature, are not a solitary tree. Their roots spread below the earth’s surface and facilitate growth in others to form a group. Aspens grow as a community; they are unified by their roots and share nutrients and resources to support each other.

Aspens Define CommunityAspen groves thrive on diversity. They are strongest when there is a mix of young and old. The diverse mix guards against disease and natural disasters, delivering greater assurance that the community survives during the tougher times.

Aspen trees have restorative qualities which reach outside their bonded community to the natural world around them. Animals gain nourishment in the winter months from an Aspen’s trunk and pains can be soothed through their medicinal, aspirin-like value.

Beyond the Aspen trees, I found community when Blue Like Jazz hit a roadblock in realizing the goal of making the book into a movie. A community sprung up all around, just like Aspen trees sometimes do, and brought to life the initiative with 4,495 people helping fund the project.

I found community in Twitter by discovering new blogs and new perspectives, like Letters from a Small State and High Calling. I also discovered new organizations – No Labels and Students First – which stirred passion inside of me to help out, get involved.

I found community in Facebook and LinkedIn by re-connecting with old college friends and renewing the friendships.

Community is all around us. It is taking our time to really engage and nurture the relationships.

As I look ahead to the next year, where community needs work is in our neighborhood. Relationships are present, but it is at a surface level. Engaging deeper and developing the foundation for great activity and interaction are part of my goals. Another community activity, which is a work-in-progress, is finding the right church for our family and beginning to develop this community as well.

Taking a page from the Aspen Community playbook, expanding the personal, solid root-based community ties are what need to spring up from dormancy and into life.