Journey to the Heart: Exploring the World of Spirit
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Nature's Ancient Call
By Linda Pendleton
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine
flows into trees. The winds will blow their own
freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
~ John Muir
I have spent many summer vacations in California's Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and often heard of the nearby White Mountains and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest so decided to visit there one year. It was a side trip I will always remember.
I had left the long Owens Valley and Highway 395 behind at Big Pine-elevation 3,985 feet-and drove on Westgard Pass Road (SR 168), and White Mountain Road, the twenty-five miles or so up into the White Mountains to Schulman Grove and there, had an awe-inspiring experience.
The mountain air was fresh and invigorating, though cool at an elevation above 10,000 feet, even on that clear summer day. Inyo National Forest's Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest covers an area of 28,000 acres. White Mountain Peak rises to a height of 14,242 feet, which is close to the 14,494 feet of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.
The White Mountains of California are part of the Great Basin, a 190,000 square mile expanse stretching from the Sierra Nevada Range on the west to the fringes of the Rocky Mountains. Each mountain range within the Great Basin has a linear character and is separated from adjacent ranges, to the east and west, by wide valleys.
I certainly was filled with awe as I walked along the dirt paths at Schulman Grove because I was surrounded by the oldest living things on earth, the Ancient Bristlecone Pines. Some of those pines, with their gnarled and twisted branches and trunks, have for more than 4,600 years fought the harshest of weather conditions to maintain life.
© Photograph by Linda Pendleton
The struggle to maintain life is never ending and it has gone on day after day, year after year, century after century, and millennium after millennium. And the cycle continues as the tree delights in producing cones with faith that the cone will produce fertilized seeds, that a small speck of their continuing life will dig roots into the sweet earth to begin anew the only thing they know, survival.
It is difficult to imagine that many of those trees have stood on that mountaintop and have struggled so gallantly to maintain life for such time out of mind-since more than 2,600 years before the man called Jesus walked upon this earth. They were here even before Moses stood upon that other mountaintop and heard the words of God. Those trees put down their tenacious roots several hundred years before the birth of Abraham, first of the Jewish patriarchs. Even the 969-year life span of Methuselah, who is said to have lived longer than any human, is short compared to the life span of the Ancient Bristlecone pines which are still going strong.
I was standing there on the mountain with life before me that was older than our written history and I was moved to tears. I wondered what of our history those trees knew. What had they gathered into themselves from the mass consciousness of centuries after centuries of life upon our planet?-if they could only share their knowledge with us, help us to understand who we are, why we are, and if we will continue to be here on this blue planet called Earth. Are they crying out in pain as they see the irreversible damage that we are inflicting upon Mother Earth? I would love to know what they "know" from atop this isolated mountain that seems to be a little closer to heaven.
I had picked up a pine cone from the ground that appeared to have been carelessly cast aside but I then realized it had not. I held it in the palm of my hand for a few minutes and savored its energy. I then gently returned it to the place where I had found it and I came to understand that it had a plan. It would survive, in any way that it could and in whatever form it may. This small pine cone was part of a family of survivors and it knew its purpose.
O ancient Tree so gnarled and bold,
How strong you stand, how long you hold,
'gainst bitter winds across your face-
All perils that contest your place-
So much of life that you have seen,
So much of strife where man has been,
From tools of stone to fossiled bones,
You've seen the flames, you've heard the groans;
The Patriarchs have come and gone,
While you, O Tree, have struggled on.
To understand Eternity,
I need but talk with thee, O Tree.
~ Linda Pendleton
Copyright © 2006 Linda Pendleton. All rights reserved.
Linda Pendleton, medium and author, is the creator and instructor of the www.SelfHealingExpressions.com course Journey to the Heart: Exploring the World of Spirit. Learn more about Linda and this course now.
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