The ancients

 [Note, published on Christmas's Eve, 2016 and dedicated to Allan R. Taylor, my brother-in-law on his birthday. Not that he's so very ancient...]

 
Last July 25, several of my colleagues joined Conifer guru Jerry Morris to explore two special spots in the Mosquito range a few hours West of Denver. I'd been to Windy Ridge on Mt. Bross--but not to the groves east of the gravel road where Jerry took us. And I'd driven by the Limber Pine grove dozens of times on the way to Horseshoe Mt. and Mt. Sherman--but this was the first time I'd taken the time to hike over the creek and onto the enchanted grove. There are many magical places in my native state--none are lovelier than these two spots!


They're even amazing when they're long gone!


The Engelmann spruce cones were glisteniung,,,


And a closeup of a Bristlecone cone to show the reason for the name...below, the ancients hardly need a commentary...
















A grouse (and hidden chicks were a welcome distraction...


 Not as statuesque as the pines, a Juniperus communis was nonetheless striking in its own right...

 

 On to the Limber Pine grove above Fairplay...




In this season of "Tannenbaum" and plastic trees, it's good to perhaps think of these inspiring ancients that were here long before humanity. They put "civilization" into a sort of proper context.



I know he doesn't LOOK so very ancient, but Allan and I do go back a bit: he was engaged to my sister Mary 60 years ago: he enchanted her (and my mother and all of us) with his expansive personality then and continues to do so. I owe Allan my love of gardening and much of my interest in philology and more: he has been a mentor and inspiration for all these years--and continues to inspire me with his energy, passion and incisive intellect. Πολλά χρόνια! κουνιάδε. Βιος ανθοσπαρτος! 

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