Photo: Jennifer Bloom, Pando Aspen Clone, Richfield, UT
I was obsessed from the moment I heard about it.
Last fall, I learned that the world’s oldest and most massive living organism was just a few states away in Utah and I was determined to go see it. So I tacked a few extra days onto my family’s summer vacation, flew to Salt Lake City, rented a car, and drove three hours south to a cabin in Fishlake National Forest, just a short walk from the Pando Aspen Clone.
Pando is an 80,000-year-old Aspen grove that spans 107 acres [over 75 football fields in size]. And what looks like thousands of separate trees from above ground, are actually stems of a single plant, connected underground by an elaborate root system.
A friend asked me what the big deal was. Wouldn’t it look just like any other forest? Why make such an effort to go there?
His question made me pause. He was right. It would (and did) look like any other forest on a lake. But standing in the middle of all the trees that towered above us, I could feel the magnitude of something much larger. And in my imagination, I could visualize the web of roots under my feet. In my imagination, I could wonder whether there is something invisible that connects us all.
I’ve heard that cells from the same heart
Beat in time, even when separated
By a hundred miles.
I picture you,
Squinting barefoot at the sea,
Blues and greens reflected in your hopeful eyes.
Your crooked smile almost lost
In a parenthetical embrace
As your bare arms stretch upward
To greet the morning sun.
Do I read your mind
As I lift my morning cup to meet my lips
And remember the time
You told me your truth?
Is it the flutter in your stomach I feel when I wake
From a deep and dreamless sleep,
Unsure of where to begin?
What thread is there that connects your heart to mine?
Wispy strands beyond visible, yet
Bearing some thing
That no earthly fiber could hold.
Because though your heart beats a thousand miles away from mine,
Our feet fall in step as we walk along distant shores.
Home Before Supper – poetry and improv
Sunday, August 11 @ 5pm (doors at 4:30)
The Institution Theater, 3800 Woodbury Dr, Austin 78704
Tickets are $12 and available here.
House of Mirth – poetry and jazz piano
Saturday, August 24 @7pm
Adam’s Music House, 6007 Belfast Drive, Austin 78723
Free (RSVP here)
Fierce Grace – Feminine Leadership Retreat with Christine Arylo
Sunday, September 22, 9:30am-4:00pm
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin 78739