Whispering Leaves

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There are few sights that give me a feeling of home like a grove of aspens does. The friendly round leaves, paper-white bark, and characteristic black knots endear the aspens to me.

I must have spent hours upon hours watching the birds flutter around their branches, more hours listening to the whisper of the leaves in the wind, and yet more imagining that they were some gateway between our world and a magical one.

Though I now find a different connection in praying when I hear the whisper of the leaves, I’m not the first to think of aspens as magical. The ancient Greeks considered aspens a tree of heroes, with magical powers held in the leaves. That’s why they made crowns from aspen leaves and shields from aspen wood. Some other cultures have thought of the whisper of the leaves in the wind as “the voice of the beyond.” Wooden stakes used to kill the mythical vampires and werewolves are supposed to be made from aspens as well.

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Aside from magical qualities, I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that quaking aspen groves (as North American aspens are called – due to their “quaking” in the wind) are interconnected through their root system. Instead of spreading through seeds, a parent tree will spread strong roots that sprout up into new saplings, making an entire grove out of a single organism. According to biologists from the University of Colorado, the largest organism in the world (as measured by mass) is a quaking aspen grove in Utah.

Getting philosophical for a moment, I find that it’s not just a cool fact that aspens are interconnected in this way. It’s inspiring to think about how every creation on earth is interconnected and dependent on each other. That’s why it was fitting not only to do an aerial dance shoot in the aspens, but a duet.

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My dear beautiful friend Sarah Schwab came to have an adventure with us near our hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Naturally, this meant hiking, paddleboarding, shooting some photos, and playing in the fabric! Sarah’s someone who is always up for any adventure, and she inspires all around her. She’s also an amazing photographer, so you should check out her website!

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Hope you enjoy this set. It’s extra special to me, because of my fondness for the aspens and for my friend Sarah, and my dog Saydie, who also humored me in being my aerial partner for a minute!

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