Ancient Roots by Darlene Beck Jacobson

 With this month's theme of rooted, I can't help but think of trees. Especially the ancient ones that have survived for thousands of years. I am currently reading a fascinating book that describes some of these natural wonders found in the USA.

IN SEARCH OF THE OLD ONES talks about the redwoods, the sequoias, bald cypress, and the quaking aspen trees that have been here since indigenous people roamed the continent. Trees that have survived earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, and other disasters both natural and man-made.

The quaking aspen in Fish Lake, Utah is a single tree that spans 106 acres - the equivalent of 60 pro soccer fields - and has been alive for 8-12,000 years. It was around before the invention of the wheel. Before clay pots were developed. Before the birth of Christ. It is the largest living organism on earth.

What may look like a forest of aspen trees to anyone who observes them, is really a forest of vertical roots from the main tree. One tree...rooted in the ground atop a mountain nearly two miles above sea level. Talk about survival!

The second largest living organism on earth also happens to be a tree. In Sequoia National Park in California, the General Sherman weighs in at 1,385 tons - the equivalent weight of 213 African Elephants.  At a height of 274.9 feet, it towers over the other trees surrounding it, all giants of their own. It sprouted about the same time Julius Caesar was born and is estimated to be between 2,100 and 2,200 years old. 

For more about this amazing specimen of longevity and survival visit:

   Why am I sharing these facts about ancient trees? First of all because they are amazing!! For organisms to live that long despite all the things that have come and gone in the centuries of their existence, they have stayed rooted. Not only standing still, but spreading their roots far and wide. Reaching up. Reaching out. What amazing stories they hold beneath their trunks! Stories of persistence. Stories of perseverance. Stories of triumph over adversity. 

The same traits of characters that resonate in the stories we write.

Being rooted in one place does not mean being stagnant. It does not mean we no longer grow or change. It means we have a solid foundation to tap into. To spread out from. To taste and touch the world around us in search of what lies within our surroundings and beyond. We can learn a lot from these ancient ones.

Darlene Beck Jacobson has always had a love for trees and saw an aspen up close. Her next adventure is to visit the redwood forest to see the ancient trees rooted there.


  1. As someone who has lived in the same place my entire life, this hit me in a powerful way. I've got to check out this book.

  2. I highly recommend it, Holly. It is humbling and awe inspiring.

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