Contemplations of a Six-Thousand-Year-Old Bristlecone Pine Tree in the White Mountains of California. by Cathy Raven (Lucent Dreaming Issue 10)

Was I young once or have I always been? Did I spring twisted and unexpected from this parched ground, this frozen, more-rock-than-soil ground, or did the earth form around me?
Or did the Earth form around me? Does the sky hang on my high-reaching limbs?
I have no memory of youth – so long ago… so many suns and moons and seasons ago. They flicker by in a hurry, like Raven resting in my branches, like Wolf taking shelter from the blizzard. There and then vanished. Always changing, never still. What must it be to live this brief spark, to be gone even as you arrive?
I do not rush from here to there. Air and water bring all things to me with the steady drip, drip, drip of time. They whisper the world to me. Secrets from faraway lands seep in through root, bark and leaf. I perch on my craggy throne and hear tales of kings and saviours and the restless world. I taste the lightning-fractured skies and breathe the first warmth of spring. I take it all on. I take it all in. Lay it down. Evidence. Year upon year, ring upon ring. The history of my existence written down with more truth than any word. The candles on my cake.
Perhaps I thought there were people, for a time, some time ago. Perhaps I thought they named me. Ancestor Tree. Old Spirit. Wise Spirit. They imagined me powerful, themselves significant.
Maybe I heard their prayers – their need to understand. They scurried and hunted and raged, but stilled to hear the earth and read the water and taste the sky – listen to the warning. Short lives – fragile and bright.
Others came. Staking their claim in my wild west. Red, white, all the same to me. But the hunger, the lust, the blood-thirst for things that shone in the earth. In my earth. Black powder breaking the mountainside, bleeding it dry. Taking, taking, and not giving back. Hacking and sawing and burning. Rush for gold. Rush for knowledge. No time for understanding. Too hasty for wisdom. Nowhere for Raven to rest or for Wolf to shelter from the blizzard.
So many are gone, yet I live on.
I feast on the meagre earth. My leaves drink the sky and the sunlight. I ask for little and receive it all.
I take my time.
I live slow and deep – the patience of immortality.


Buy issue 10 today.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Related posts

Issue 9 arrives!

Lucent Dreaming issue 9 has arrived at Lucent HQ and we think it’s our best one yet. Subscribe today from only £20 to purchase your

Read More »
Rana Shabibi in the spotlight Lucent Dreaming interview

Rana Shabibi in the spotlight

I wrote Mutability during the first UK lockdown in 2020, which was a time of great instability and upheaval. It was my way of processing all the disorientation and confusion around me.

Read More »