Wise Elder

She told me she was 2300 years old. I told her she didn’t look a day over 2250. She said cool never heard that one before but I’m pretty sure she was being sarcastic and then she said she was actually monoecious and her preferred pronoun was they. I was too embarrassed to say anything at that point so we were both silent for a while looking out over the mountain together and it was one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences of my life and when I finally looked up again they were smiling down at me. I smiled too and looked back out at the view thinking how they were older than the pandemic of 1918, older than vaccines, older than Genghis Khan and Jesus and I just kept smiling. I couldn’t stop smiling.

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools — only Uncle Sam can do that.

John Muir – “Our National Parks”, 1901

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