Jun 27, 2011


something is happening here that breaks my heart.

the pines are dying.  everywhere all over colorado they're dying.  the pine beetle - which once was kept out of the high country by our cold mountain weather - has worked it's way into the forests here as the temperatures rise.  for the past few years the winter hasn't been cold enough to kill them and so instead they're killing the pines.  all of the pines.

from a distance the mountains look nearly the same; only here and there do you see brown dead trees standing tall and hopeless among the mass of green.  some areas show more death than others but by glancing at a tourists photo you'd never know.  yesterday though, steph and i hiked to the ampitheater in the mountains above ouray and what i saw in the woods there made my gut turn.  almost all the pines we passed on our four mile hike showed signs of beetle kill.

where once you'd look around and see only bright green, fluffy boughs glowing in the sun, now there are sweeps of skeletal branches, bleached and gnarled and utterly jarring.  it really looks like the whole pine population, meaning most of the forest here, could be lost.  i feel this anticipated loss so acutely that my eyes fill up with tears just thinking about it.  i know, i know, i'm a tree hugger.... but much of my childhood as spent stalking through these fragrant woods with my dad, looking for the wildlife that lived in them.  i've skied and hiked through them my whole life.  these woods shaped me and they bring the mountains to life.  where will the animals go if they're all gone?  will enough other trees remain?  and will the beetles move on to other species once the pine have been exhausted?

i know that my life is small and that i cannot possibly understand the life of a tree, not to mention a forest.  in the face of nature i know nothing about time and i'm probably being melodramatic but i simply cant help it;  i love these trees so much....

i have never really been the praying type but each night before bed i have started praying earnestly for trees.

'please, please let them survive.'

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