The blanched trunk of an old growth ponderosa pine stands stoically as a poignant reminder of the 1979 Bridge Creek fire started by careless campers. The reproduction, planted sometime later and, probably chosen by the State of Oregon for quick growing "sustainable yield", bathes in the late afternoon sun on the eastern slopes of the Cascades near Bend, Oregon.
I imagined the bygone forest with its lovely giants and the sparse undergrowth competing for light filtering through the canopy. For a moment I sensed the odors of pine sap, fresh needles and duff, pictured scurrying animals small and large, and the fallen trunks mouldering amidst the volcanic rock and snow melt run off .
It is not productive to dwell too long in nostalgia nor to admire only the dark side of the moon. The fledgling trees of the background are early teenagers and soon to burst with testosterone. They are embarking on their life's journey upward. Sometimes this view is hard to see from the height of an old tree like me. Nonetheless, this picture shows the energy and fortitude of the next generation striving to achieve what has come before it. Who knows, some day those little trees may stand even taller.