One of the largest and oldest organisms on earth is Pando, a Quaking Aspen clone in Utah that covers over 106 acres. Looking at it, you’d assume that it was just a bunch of individual trees, but it’s actually one organism, and it’s thousands of years old. We didn’t know that until recently. I think of Pando whenever I come across a new relative.
We are all related within 100 generations. Think about it. But one of the most exciting things about the times we live in is that it has become easier and easier to track down distant relatives. It used to be that you’d have to rely on that one family member who was conscientious and persistent and enthusiastic enough to do the painstaking family research, but with Ancestry.com and so many other genealogy sites, often the longest branches of your family tree are but a few keystrokes away!
Just the other day, out of the clear blue sky, one of my second cousins found us. She lives in Australia and is a fascinating person. 30 years ago we probably would never have known she existed.
As a matter of fact, I now have several cousins on Facebook from both sides of the family. Some of them don’t even speak my language, and we probably couldn’t pick each other out of a police lineup if we had to, but we now have a connection, and that makes me very happy.
My family is all over the United States, France, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, South Africa, Greece, Australia…it’s a global connection. We have much to learn from each other, and much to share.
I have this fantasy that as the branches of all our family trees become ever more intertwined, our prejudice and intolerances will fade away and this will become a much more peaceful world. One can only hope.
This is Pando.