Montana Outdoors

March 27, 2007

Secrets of the Ancient Pine

Filed under: Arizona, Nature, Outdoors, Reflections, Writing — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 9:59 pm

Far above a canyon, high upon a ridge in the highlands of Arizona, stand the solitary bones of an ancient pine, respectfully buried there on a day hundreds of years past by Mother Nature Herself in a lonely grave gently dug in a blue expanse of sky and tenderly wrapped in a thin shroud woven from a soft breeze.

Her name, “Bristlecone”, was penned for her by a modern man four thousand years after she was born in a small depression filled with dust on the ridge-top and her epitaph can still be seen, engraved in lichens on her memorial stone of granite now lying at her feet.

For thousands of years she watched the struggles and the sorrow and the progress and the joy of men. She saw the Hohokam in the distance far to the south as they formed their canals in the stone and the sand of the desert, bringing forth lush green as a welcome contrast to the brown of the valley and she alone knows the mystery of their fate.

She observed the arrival and spread of the Anasazi across the plateaus of Arizona and on east from there, admired the intricate patterns of black and white on their pots and vessels and marveled at their dwellings made of stones. And she watched them disappear as the Hohokam, but will not tell her tale of that secret time.

The dwellings of the Hopi, high in the cliffs above the canyons were under her gaze as she watched the joy of children at play in those precarious perches of safety and shelter from harm.

And there were tears that fell at her feet when she saw the red blood of white men and the red blood of red men intermingle and soak slowly into the dust of her canyon below.

I asked her for the secrets of those days long ago and there was never a reply, but on a day yet to come, when my epitaph is on a granite stone I will ride to Bristlecone on the desert wind and share her tales of man and men and shed with her my own tears of sorrow and of joy.

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