Busy Dying

roadWhen I first heard Bob Dylan sing, “He not busy being born is busy dying,” I ignored him. For many of my generation, the words gave license to live dangerously. It reminded others, waiting for deployment to Viet Nam, that they too might soon be bleeding and dying. That was 50 years ago. Today I still pretend that Aki and I will live forever.

pineWhat would the shore pines that line this trail make of Dylan’s words? They all seem to be in the process of dying, Some are completely bare. Others display a mix of dead brown and live green needles. If sentient, they might have cursed the fate that allowed their seed to germinate here at the northern edge of their range. They can’t compete with the spruce and hemlock on good ground so they colonized wet mountain meadow like this one. As a result they grow slowly. It takes them 50 years to expand their trunk a few inches.

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