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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tree Hugger

The original title of this post was "Ancient Tree Hugger" until I realized it sounds like I'm the ancient one - so I changed it to "Hugger of Ancient Trees I am," but that seemed too Yoda-speak.

I'm a literal tree hugger (see photo evidence, left. Still digging for Muir Woods redwood hug session photos), especially when that tree is older than dirt and these are. Well . . . some dirt anyway. Warning: Excessive but absolutely appropriate use of the word "amazing" in this post.

I was thrilled to check something off of my Bucket List: a trip to Colorado, with a bucket list of must-sees all its own! One of those sub-listings was to get high . . . on a Colorado mountain! Since it was a short trip and I wanted to get a lot in, Mount Evans it was -- on the highest paved road in North America! It is a long way up "the road to the sky" to 14,130 feet! I was very tempted to buy a "Got Oxygen" T-shirt after my dizzy, breathless, headachy bout of altitude sickness at the summit!

Though the summit lakes, the friendly mountain goats, snow falling on me in July at the summit, and the breathtaking views are each easily worthy of a blog post all their own, I'm inclined to devote this post to the amazing ancient trees we encountered, the Bristlecone Pines, which according to the forest ranger, are the "oldest living thing on this earth."

The Bristlecone Pines of Mount Evans are approximately 1,700 years old. You read that right. One THOUSAND, seven hundred years old! And though these are certainly not whippersnappers, there are some in California that are 3,000 years old! These trees are beautifully gnarled and twisted by the winds, snows and harsh conditions and the are stronger for it. Even a dead Bristlecone can stand for hundreds of years before their root system finally decays and they topple over.

I am both inspired and humbled by Bristlecone Pines' perseverance in the heart of adversity. The lyrics, "I shall not be, I shall not be moved. Just like a tree that's planted by the water." come to mind. To ponder the amazing life and miracle of these ancient ones brings deeper meaning to the term "awe struck" and makes my small life seem so very short and fragile. But like glorious canyon views, fiery sunsets and brilliant star-filled skies, it is a gift to see and experience these moments and it causes my heart to sing praise to the Maker. I want to touch it, to embrace it, yes, hug it and feel connected to it, perhaps in hopes that in doing so I might gain some of its strength and wisdom to face adversity in my own life.

Okay . . . one happy mountain goat pic from the summit because I can't resist!
This post is dedicated to Chris & Jason for their Colorado hospitality, tips (drink water!) and guidance. Much love.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures! Yes, I love taking pictures of clouds and trees, imagine what stories those ancient ones could tell us. Makes me think of Treebeard.