Thursday, September 4, 2008

Photo Story Friday: Life

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Along the trail to Spectra Point, at Cedar Breaks National Monument, stands a tree -- a bristlecone pine. It's not a beautiful tree -- at least not by traditional standards. Beautiful trees have large palm fronds, and symmetrical shapes, and broad leaves, that burn fiery red, in the late seasons of the year. Bristlecones have very little foliage, and no symmetry. They are twisted and gnarled. Life is hard on bristlecone pines; they live where they have no business living. At 10,000 feet, the air is thin and the soil is terrible. But, adversity makes you strong. This tree is a survivor. This tree is 1600 years old. 
As I ran my hands over the ancient, grey surface, I thought about the history that has passed on this earth, during it's lifetime, and I wondered what it could teach me. The tree was born during the fall of the Roman Empire, but, it couldn't tell me about politics. It is older than Islam and just younger than the Emperor Constantine, but, it could not teach me about religion. It is just a tree, after all. 




But, what it could teach me about was life. And longevity. And fortitude. And strength. And character. You can't always change the circumstances of your life, but you always have complete control over your response to those situations. You play the hand you are dealt. 
There is a young, Silver Maple tree in my backyard. Eventually, it may grow to be a big, beautiful tree -- if it survives the violent winds that blow out of the canyons, east of our home. 
Silver Maples have notoriously shallow root systems. But this lonely, bristlecone pine has burrowed its massive roots deep into the rocky cliff, on which it stands, and no force has shaken it, in sixteen centuries. 
Your life is what you make of it. 
That's the wisdom of the ancients. 


41 comments:

Nitroxgear said...

Nice photos of such a well worn tree and I like the words that went with it...really gets you thinking. Cool!

Cecily R said...

I love that tree (and I LOVE your pictures of it!!). My siblings and I have the coolest picture of us in it the day they day they all dropped me off at SUU as a freshman. I'm sure we were breaking all kinds of rules climbing it, but its a cool shot.

And you're right. There is wisdom in that tree. There has to be.

Cecily R said...

Sorry about my spazzy sentence in that last comment. Evie keeps sitting on my keyboard and distracting makje...I mean ME.

Mandy said...

Nice shots!

Supercool Hotmama said...

WOW! just WOW.

Susie said...

I wonder if I climb the tree any of that wisdom would sort of sink in--like osmosis.
Great pictures, and very good insight as to what it can teach you. Control over reactions? I'd like you to elaborate on exactly how you accomplish that one--seems to be one of my downfalls.

Chris said...

I suppose I would separate a reaction from a response.

Candy said...

that tree is awesome. It reminds of those old trees sitting near the ocean in Carmel,CA.....or something photographed by Ansel Adams.

(beautifully written)

CrackerJacks said...

I am a sucker for tree photos! I have several framed and hung. They are just so neat and always have such details. Great shots!

Mom24 said...

That's really beautiful. We have silver maples in our yard an I wince when people treat them like 'garbage' trees. We love our trees, but I do admit to getting very nervous during storms!

CrackerJacks said...

Thanks for visiting! Hubby hates GH too. I think it's hilarious to watch him squirm around when he mows the yard and the grasshoppers are flying everywhere!

MamaGeek said...

That LAST SHOT?

TOTAL PERFECTION.

Isn't nature grand? Seriously, how could you ever not be inspired with beauty like that!?

Well done again Chris.

Aaron said...

Trees are trees, fire burns them all.

I bet that tree would be nicer than the apple trees on the Wizard of Oz, but then it has never been exposed to flying monkeys!

I wonder if that tree knows grandmother willow?

Of course I am being sarcastic. Great shots as always and your writing is always thought provoking. Well done.

Chris said...

Aaron, I used to think you provoked people unintentionally, now I'm not so sure...

Sharon said...

I'm impressed with your shots, especially since I know you were barely breathing at the time. :)

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

Amazing photo - my brother would love this - he's a tree man(arborist)

Leanne said...

Beautiful.

Casey's trio said...

Your life is what you make of it....LOVE this view of life. It is SO true! Beautiful pictures with this post.

And thanks for your kind comment on my blog. Some days, I am hanging on to every last drop of patience I have.

scrappysue said...

that's one gnarly tree! i love it

Corey~living and loving said...

Great story....and I love love LOVE that last photo of the tree. wowzers......

oh and thanks for the warning and Sugar Bear and the mirror. I'll be on the lookout. :)

Happy PSF!

Mandy said...

That's an incredible tree - great shots!

The Apron Queen said...

We have some great pics of similiar trees in the Grand Canyon. They're beautiful, even w/o leaves. Thanks for sharing.

My post is There's a snake on my foot!

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

I love this post... you captured the essence of the tree and the essence of life too!!

Jenny said...

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I was stunned by the picture alone and then to read the age and your beautiful post? I'm amazed.

Crazy Mama said...

that tree is beautiful.

Karin said...

Outstanding shots and very well written post. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Susan said...

This is a beautiful post! The shots are stunning and your words are so true.

Shellie said...

Both the pictures and the words are incredible! Thanks.

Autumn said...

Wow, great story and great shots! Love them!

Keep It Classy, Jen said...

LOL, yeah I think the metaphors were a little mixed up...but I get the point. Love your pics and thanks so much for stopping by.

Amanda D said...

Great pictures. Truly beautiful and inspiring. Congrats on 14 years as well. That is truly something to be proud of.

Robyn said...

Very cool. I love that "It is older than Islam and just younger than the Emperor Constantine, but, it could not teach me about religion. It is just a tree, after all."
Beautiful post and awesome photos.

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

Beautiful writing and the tree is quite interesting. Not "pretty" but most definitely intriguing.

Jennifer said...

What a beatiful tree and pictures to match.

lisaschaos said...

I LOVE gnarly old trees and thinking about the history they have stood through. How right you are, great musing!

Mama Zen said...

I love the pictures and your words. Just gorgeous!

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

At first glance, it looks half dead, but after reading your words an appreciation for it's strength and ability to hold on and endure. thanks for sharing this amazing tree.

Genny said...

What amazing pictures. I loved how you said you can't always change your circumstances, but you can change your response!

Thanks so much for stopping by the other day.

tommie said...

Love the one with the sunburst! Wow!

Thanks for visiting my story.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Beautiful. I have told you that your photos make me homesick, right? Gorgeous.

Darla said...

Your photography and writing...and your blog...is stunningly beautiful!