On the crest of a lonely ridge, far above the rushing water of the river, the gnarled and twisted skeleton of an ancient pine still stands wild and free, looking toward the sky in anticipation of things yet to come.
I visit that tree several times each year and I’m happy that it chose such a place to spend its long life. It is protected by the location which is approached only by foot and holds no treasures for those who exploit the land.
The lifetimes of trees are fascinating and awesome. They provide for me a link to history that is much longer than the modern history of the west. The first non-Indians to enter the state I live in, Montana, were the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806).
Because of its location, the way it sits overlooking the valley, and the wildlife present in its immediate surrounds I would bet that the Indians who lived here were frequent visitors and enjoyed its shade in summer and its wind-shelter in winter.
I love the presence of the lichen – life persisting and drawing support from the remnants of the past. And such a sense of movement. Those roots make it appear as though some force has tried to twist it from the earth – without success!