the immutable Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Frost may be right that nothing gold can stay, but something a really dull shade of brown sure can. Apparently there’s a bristlecone pine tree on a mountain in California that’s about 4,600 years old. That’s not too shabby, but there’s also a Huon pine tree (or series of trees) on a mountain in Tasmania that could be far older – 10,500 years old, or even more. Specious dating techniques could be the culprit here, and it may not be more than 4,000 years old, but I’m still impressed. thing is, near-immortality is useless if you’re a frickin’ tree. Resiliency is wasted on such irrational objects. But the real thing to remember is that if scientists hadn’t done some fancy dating techniques on this foliage, we’d be all over it to build a new Home Depot or put decorative paneling in Paris Hilton’s jail cell. We could learn a lot from these ancient plants that preserve their environment for their own longevity.

Or we could put a new luxury hotel on a California mountainside. Plants are here to do our bidding, whether they’re five years old or five thousand years old. We’d better not let them forget it. I’m not suggesting that we “make an example” of these elderly trees…after all, trees can’t see. But the least we could do is drive a few nails into them, to put them in their place.

2 thoughts on “the immutable

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