Did you know that the largest single living organism in the world is also the oldest know living organism in the world?
If you travel to Utah’s Fishlake National Forest, you will come upon a 100 acre forest called the Pando Quaking Aspen Grove. It is comprised of over 47,000 stems, or trees, and this particular grove is believed to be 80,000 years old.
If that wasn’t enough to make this grove of Aspens unique, genetic testing reveals that every single Aspen is genetically identical to every other Aspen in this grove. Below the surface of the earth is a massive system of roots that are essentially one singular organism.
80,000 years old.
That is absolutely incredible!
Aspen groves grow beneath the surface and can lay dormant for years before starting a cycle of growth above ground. They are marked by their beautiful white trunks and magnificent yellow leaves in the fall.
The name “quaking Aspen” comes from the Onondaga people who are said to have called them “nut-kie-e,” meaning “noisy leaf.” When the wind is blowing, the leaves make a “quaking” or “crackling” sound created by the leaf’s long stem and flat, broad shape.
The secret to it’s longevity? It’s massive and healthy root system.
There are so many parallels that we can draw to these magnificent quaking Aspens. I wonder if Jesus had this grove in mind when he talked about the church. While he used the imagery of a grape vine to demonstrate how we are grafted into the family of God, I wonder if he would have used this grove if his listeners had had known about it.
We’re talking about growing deep this weekend and there is much we can learn.
I hope you’ll join us and bring a friend!