One simple, "I'm offended" post would have made this all go away.
I think people were bored rather than offended, and if I asked for the removal of every posted photograph that bores me....well, where would that end?
Where it all leaves me is thinking that I need to work harder on the abstract visual interest of the shots and push the metaphor into the background, without getting rid of it altogether. I was trying for that in the second posted shot, enhancing the shadows on the trunks and the contrast between the trunks and the blurred background but clearly the whole metaphor thing overwhelmed that, to say nothing of particular details on the shot.
What I haven't concluded is that the shots aren't worth taking. I walk there most days and find the newly naked tree trunks and the fallen bark endlessly beautiful, but the crotch metaphor unavoidable - even the greatly aged (like you, Russ ?) would be sure to notice it. And I believe in photographing what I find striking and going after my real reaction to it rather than looking for examples of pre-existing photographic paradigms. In this case, my reaction is to the beauty and
the metaphor, but one of them is subtle and the other crude, so I am not sure if it is possible to do both in one shot.
Thanks again to everyone.