I'm always amazed at those slabs of ancient
tree trunks that show how time passes.
A seed fell and sprouted and took root.
Maybe in 1492 or 1215.
There was a drought. There was a fire.
There were good years and bad.
My ancient Juniper tree lives on at the back
of a my mostly unused piece of land.
Its age gives it a certain distinction.
How old can it be?
I named the tree Carlos Rey for it was surely
once the property of the King of Spain.
These trees grow slowly in the high desert.
They experience things that we never notice.
Once they get a good start, a toehold, they
can go on for centuries.
Carlos Rey was twig when Coronado and
the Franciscans camped just down the hill.
Other trees nearby show old jagged scars;
ax marks where a shepherd or soldier
stole a branch for firewood or shelter.
Even the scars are ancient.
Carlos Rey went unnoticed and unscathed.
Endurance and survival are the keys.
Carlos has seen good years and bad years.
I think we must be in what will be known
as bad years when some future scientist
ponders our age - our rings.
I see no small Junipers - only ancient ones.
The climate seems angry and uncooperative.
Life is precious. It has a memory to share.
There's a man in Sussex who counts the rings
of a Stradavari or a Montagnana or
a Matteo Groffiller.
With years of practice, and in the right hands,
the old tree rings sing with the voice of angels.