Friday, July 27, 2007

STL - Bristle Cone Pine

This is a Bristle Cone Pine I bought in August 1991, about a week after my brother passed away from a heart attack. His life and death is another story, along with my 1991 VW Vanagon Syncro I bought the day he died and it's first trip was to the airport to fly to Kansas City for his funeral. When I got back I bought this plant.

I have a 44 foot deck that overlooks the Narrows Strait northwest of Tacoma, just north of the twin Tacoma Narrows bridges. Until then (moved into the place in January 1987) the deck was basically empty except for a chair and stand to sit and enjoy the view and watch the world go by. I can watch Seattle/Tacoma to/from Portland trains on the other side, the ships on the Strait, the tide moving through, and the whole southeastern horizon with Mt. Rainier in the distance.

Well, after my brother's death, I wanted some life to see. I have a number of indoor plants - with three rooms with big glass doors and/or windows it's hard not to have plants. But I had no outdoor plants so I went to a local nursery and saw this Bristle Cone Pine. I bought a planter for it, which has been used elsewhere for other plants, and replanted it into the box planter about 1996. It's in the same place it's been when I brought it home, and see it every day outside the window.

If you don't know these trees live in the southern high Sierra Mountains in California. They are the oldest and longest living plant on this planet, upwards of 2-3,000 years. They're often seen in landscape photographs. It will easily outlast me and many after me, if it's planted somewhere we let it grow. I keep in the planter with the instructions to make it my grave marker, to give life back to nature and into something this planet needs.

As long as it's watered occasionally, this plant will take on its own life after me, transforming to the weather and environment, to be what nature has given it to start and survive. Until then I hope I continue to help it.

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