Thursday, November 13, 2008
This photograph was taken on Sunday afternoon looking up the road past my cabin, but already the photo is "ancient history." The color is gone. Indeed, the leaves are gone. The only shade left on the few remaining leaves is brown. Sometimes I’m shocked by just how fast the forest around me can change. And yet, this view is also a glimpse of a truly ancient history.
Leaves fall every autumn. Every autumn. Every year. The trees that line my lane are older than I am and will live long past my own span. The trees that cover this mountain are the direct descendents of trees that have covered this mountain for untold lifespans of other humans and for untold eons before humans first set foot here.
They are a living link back into the dimmest days of the pre-history of our planet. When I look at them, I can imagine the first humans who walked here. I can imagine a forest before people ever stood here. I can imagine the change of seasons and the quiet that then covered these hills.
Nothing else can tie us to the past as directly as the trees. Fossils of formerly living creatures are now simply interesting stone imprints. But the trees are living reminders of what has gone before. A reminder I can touch every day, a reminder that changes before me every day, a reminder that teaches me every day what history really is and that today is only today.