Pitch pine's view of the world

Spy Rock, Black Rock Forest, Cornwall, NY

Pitch pine's view of the world

1830. Dear Diary: I am old enough to collect my thoughts. And it rained last night so my needles are paying attention. There is another, like me, the next rock over, that I can barely sense… but the breezes bring the pheromones, and I know. I know that the season of dryness is coming, and I try to nap through that.

1870. Dear Diary: It is nice to be tall enough to feel the full measure of the wind, most of the year. In winter it is dramatic with a frigid chill, but then I am hunkered down with antifreeze in my veins and my senses are thankfully dulled.

1900. Dear Diary: My world has changed. Much of my forest is gone, and the rivers run too fast with abandon. I try to spend my time not agonizing over my fellows, but rather looking down at my feet, and enjoy the company of the small ones, the little bluestem and the lichen and the moss. It is they who teach me chemistry and geology.

1960. Dear Diary: My age has brought me twists and kinks, but also deepness of strength. My roots have found comfort in crevices after so many decades of hanging on by my toes. I count the years by the fiery red of the young maples in the valleys below and the bold yellow of the hickories.

2015. Dear Diary: I don’t really understant the penchant for group photos under my branches, but have come to enjoy my role as icon of the rock.

Nancy Aten