The Aspen Analogy
I remember riding on the motorcycle last summer along the continental divide, admiring the groves of beautiful Aspen trees that filled the landscape for mile after mile, as far as the eye could see. At that point in September their leaves were just turning the color of butter.
They are one of my favorite trees.
I have often marveled at their physical beauty, their mottled white bark and the shimmer of their leaves. But when one of my teachers back in the day, told me their amazing story, and how it related to humanity – well, I developed an entirely different appreciation.
Somehow the roads conspired with the music in my ears (or I’d just gotten better at choosing the tracks) as we would wind in and out of the gently sweeping curves, the edges lined with groves of graceful Aspens.
I like big, full orchestra, instrumental pieces when we zig zag through forests.
It provides a perfect soundtrack.
You all have soundtracks that run through your lives – right?
The day I’m thinking of in particular, I was listening to Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Special Edition, which is his genius SO album mixed with full, and I mean a FULL orchestra.
Many of the instrumental tracks are over seven minutes long and IN YOUR EYES, playing at full volume in my headphones all throughout the mountains of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, just made me weep.
Perfect temperature, scenery, music, road and company often do that to me.
It really is magic.
Here’s what’s so unusual and really quite mystical about the Aspens.
They are believed to originate from the root system of Pando, which at an estimated 80,000 years old, is thought to be among the oldest living organisms on the planet.
Aspen are very rarely solitary trees, their roots can lie dormant under the surface for years, for instance after a forest fire, or severe climate change, where they will wait for the optimum conditions for an entire grove, not just a few to flourish.
A tree is actually an above ground stem that has emerged from a single underground root structure.
In other words, they are a collective, a community, all connected to each other with a strength and durability that remains unseen.
Don’t you love that?
My teacher relayed that story to me, which of course I immediately looked up, because it sounded like a bullshit fairytale; to make the point about the origins of our human souls.
He hated that description: human soul, it would get him all fired up, red in the face.
“The soul is immortal, being human for a brief moment of time,” he’d huff.
“It is ancient, and every soul is connected, like the root system of Pando, Pando representing God or Source or whatever you want to call it.”
“We, humanity, are the like stems or Aspen trees, we think once we’re above ground that we are autonomous, (the trees would NEVER be that stupid) when quite the opposite is true.” He was on a roll now.
“We get all of our wisdom, strength and beauty from our unseen connection to each other and God. When one part of the group of Aspens is suffering, it affects the whole, once a certain percentage dies, the whole grove is lost. When it thrives, the same is true.”
He was making a second point about a world community, and about the fact that we should care what goes on not only next door to us, but down the street, in the next county, state and every country of the world. We tend to not pay particular attention to wars and suffering in far away lands, but if you subscribe to the Aspen analogy, any human suffering affects the whole.
That particular teacher was a citizen of the world and he had a soapbox and wasn’t afraid to use it.
As I rode through the groves of Aspens, at the end of last summer, beholding all the beauty in front of me for those three weeks I remembered his lecture and I could feel how sacred this planet truly is.
If you EVER doubt that, walk or ride, through nature.
No pulpit necessary.
That my loves, is Church.
Tell me, do you feel the Universal connection in nature? How can we practice more connection in our day-to-day lives? Any thoughts? I LOVE your feedback!
Sending Aspen Connected Love,