Chaffee County Colorado

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens, Chaffee County

This stand of aspens and I have had conversations for most of my life, literally. From before moments I remember, I have passed by, passed through, and passed among these trees, and I feel their breath; there is a communion between us.

It is a relationship beyond words, but within the capability of image.

Advertisements

Stump No. 2, Chaffee County

Stump No 2, Chaffee County

Stump No 2, Chaffee County

I leave for the Southwest in three days, and will pass through some placed I’ve known nearly all my life. Chaffee County is one, and this image is one that evokes deep nostalgia in me for the rush of a creek I long to hear.

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens moved Ansel Adams, and for good reason. The mountains of the West are fraught with shadows, especially in the early morning and late evening hours of the day, making a dramatic backdrop for the whitewashed splendor of one of nature’s largest communities. What do I mean? Aspens groves are a single organism, connected below ground by an interconnected network of roots. They are as one, a suitable metaphor for our own relationship with the world.

Bristlecone Pine, Chaffee County

Bristlecone Pine, Chaffee County

Bristlecone Pine, Chaffee County

I was winded, feeling the altitude–uncharacteristically–of the strenuous hike, but it could also have been the surroundings that were stealing my breath. Dead trees littered the ground amidst others still standing as upright mausoleums, their white and cement-hard skeletons tactile adventures as my fingers gently moved across their bases. But as I looked to the east in a boulder-strewn slope, a handful of trees unlike any other on this earth, a species most anyone will be unlikely ever to see in person, held stubbornly against time and weather as they have for a millennia.

Elated, I scrambled up the rockfall for several hundred feet to the top of the slope, and the aura of this tree–this tree!–that was a sapling long before the First Crusade, perhaps even as the Roman Empire stood united, enveloped me and overwhelmed my senses, for I knew I was in the presence of an ancient.

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens, Chaffee County

Aspens, Chaffee County

*Additional note: Someone asked me via e-mail how I produced this image in Photoshop. My answer: It wasn’t. It has been color-corrected and sharpened, since it was shot as a Raw image (.CR2, not .DNG), but otherwise was produced in-camera. A good question!