A backlit aspen leaf is hard not to photograph!

Normally photographers try to find the perfect aspen leaf to get as the main subject, but this time I found this handsome aged fella and wanted to highlight him.  He looked as if he was gazing back at the younger, golden leaves.  It made me a bit wistful. 🙂  Quaking aspens already seem rather human to me with their dancing leaves.

Aspens are an important part of reforestation after wildfires.

Reproducing easily from root sprouts, aspens can quickly fill in an area opened by wildfire (or clear cutting).  They grow quickly, and as the leaves fall each autumn they add nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients back into the soil for other plants to make use of.  Aspens also depend on regular fires to maintain a healthy stand.  Young trees flourish in the open sunshine wildfire provides.