Sunday, March 18, 2007


This is a photograph of a life well lived. This old uprooted tree lies in Sunset Crater, the floor of an extinct volcano near Flagstaff, Arizona. The land is coarse and rocky, and the gnarled roots of this tree twisted and turned in search of elusive moisture. While quite a number of poplar and pine trees dot the landscape, not many large trees survive in the rugged pumice-and-cinder landscape. A few manage to grow to a large size, providing refuge for animals and insects. Look closely and you can see the tunnels created by wood-burrowing insects.

As happened to nearly all the large trees here, this one became a victim of its own success. It eventually outgrew the available water supply and began the slow process of dying. Whether it died before the high desert wind overpowered its tentative grip on the unstable soil is uncertain. In the distance stands another pine that faces an identical future.

But they made the best of the situation they found themselves in. We should be so resilient.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.


V. Schroeder said...

Good thought and great shot.

Milly Moo said...

brilliant shot - it looks like a wise old owl who has lived a long and fruitful life