I’ve learned a few things this week. (Algebra II assignments with Jake taught me a few new things, but I’m trying to forget that for now)…I learned some facts about Aspen trees. If you live out west, you know them as the “quaking leaves tree”. So “cute”. They also have a unique bark that makes you want to stop your hike and go touch the tree. I did. I’m a fan. (oh and the bark acts as food for the larvae of butterfly (Lepidopetera) species. I’m loving this tree. As I look at a group of trees on the trail, the Aspens remind me of the kid in the class with ADHD. Something has to be constantly moving, quite…Chiuaua-ish. They seem a little nervous and they aren’t very big. But…and here’s another cool thing I learned, their root system is much deeper underground than other trees. (When there is a forest fire, they can survive because of this) and the roots CONNECT to the other Aspen trees. They are a strong silent colony, like a stealthy special ops green beret team or something. If you want to know the truth, they can outlast those big guys who tower over you and look a little scary when they’re blowing in the storm. Who doesn’t like the element of surprise here? Looks are really deceiving. I thought this was a beautiful reminder about people. There’s usually more than meets the eye. We’d like to think we can analyze quickly and size people up pretty neatly, but we really can’t. It’s pretty prideful to do that. It’s easy to underestimate what you can’t see with your eye. But how nice to be surprised with such beauty and strength…and quirkiness. In just a few short weeks, these trees will change to a beautiful gold and set their own kind of fire in the forest. I can’t wait.