High Meadows

After the storm played out this morning Aki and I climbed to a wide muskeg meadow dotted with hard scrabble bull (shore) pines. Aki finds little of interest on the open ground between the trees. She doesn’t look up at the mountains with wide white shoulders rimming all sides of the meadow. In this flat light it’s easy for her to ignore the stubby pines with their twisted limbs buried in last night’s snow.

We should honor the pines for surviving on this windswept swampy ground. Spruce, hemlock, and even the fast growing alder couldn’t colonize it.  This meadow supports some monster bull pines that have 8 inch trunks and reach 20 feet in height.

The meadow is desert quiet this calm morning. I have to strain to hear a distant raven. We only find the half buried tracks of a passing wolf.  Leaving the meadow we cross into a healthy spruce forest rich in bird song and animal sign. Aki tears ahead on the trail as I turn to consider returning to the pine desert. She doesn’t stop until deep in the woods. Aki hasn’t learned to honor perseverance or the aging beauty of windswept survivors. Probably, the brat never will.

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