(Photo: jrbouldin at Wikipedia)
Methuselah, you ancient Bristlecone –
rooted to the spot on your downward side,
flying snow crystals, lightning, exposed
your heartwood, so you’re more dead than alive,
but scoured into a fantastic shape
and mastering your harsh environment.
You thrive in this barren environment;
it makes you a successful Bristlecone.
A lesser species would be in worse shape;
wouldn’t have knee-high saplings at its side.
Below, the sage brush is scarcely alive;
up here your resilience is exposed.
Birds took your seed to lower ground, exposed
it to a much gentler environment.
Those seedlings grew quickly; seemed so alive,
but grew straight – so unlike a Bristlecone.
Then curious scientists came alongside,
to analyse those needles’ incurved shape.
Buffetings have given you that weird shape.
The store in your climactic vaults exposed
secrets of surviving the mountainside:
how to adapt to that environment.
Pinus longaeva – well-named Bristlecone,
bedded in dolomitic soil, alive –
not cultivated, but polished, alive.
Civilisations’ sine wave graphic shape,
is atypical of the Bristlecone.
Your victorious, steady endurance exposed
those less in tune with their environment.
Mother Nature seems to be on your side.
Science did not seem to be on your side
when it bored into cambium – a live
specimen’s – to measure environment
and its effect on arboreal shape.
Hubristic Promethean theft exposed
a greed for knowledge; killed a Bristlecone.
Bristlecone, so exposed and yet alive –
your twisted shape conquers environment.
Concentric, your rings chart longevity.