I’ve taken many pictures of the bull pines and mountain hemlocks on this meadow. None have captured the life force that drives their struggle on poorly drained soil. Their ability to root in soil too marginal to support the tall spruce gains them an open place in the sun. It also slows their growth and leaves them to face harsh winter winds alone. The old ones have the twisted limbs of an arthritic. They could have stood here when Joe Juneau and Richard Harris stumbled up Gold Creek and later when gangs of Chinese laborers dug out the nearby Treadwell Ditch. They have managed to survive long enough to watch Aki pee on one of their brothers. But, given the number of dying trees on the meadow, I wonder how many more winters they have left.