Old Mountain Men


There they stand. Something rivaling 200 feet into these rare blue skies we’ve been enjoying, they belong to tribes named Redcedar and Douglas Fir. They are the elders, heroes simply for their age and grandeur.

I imagine becoming one someday. In some future life, just months after I die and am buried via minimal means my remains begin to be decomposed by worms and the microscopic civilizations that live in groves like these. My friends and family saying a fond old-aged farewell, one might hope, as they lay me shrouded in a burlap sack beneath the forest soil. I use “lay” appropriately given my body’s stature in life at that moment.

Ten years later I’ll be battling other saplings for sunlight. A decade later perhaps have risen from the underbelly to prove my height in the surrounding fledgling new forest. After a century, I’ll be able to see Seattle on a clear day.

And all the while I would eat up the sun’s light like baby skin at the beach. Drinking the glacial runoff of Rainier, I’d become more than magnificent. I’d become history surpassing many a great nation’s longevity. Presidents and rock stars would come and their grandchildren would go in my time. My predecessors would have seen the rise and fall of the automobile and the Internet. Their grandfathers would outdate Jesus.

But for now it’s a life reduced to merely walking between their Bigfoot prints. One where thinking about what they’re doing all of these years is as close my humanity has capacity for their version of existence. Among the old growth, humans are the young bucks with something to learn for once.