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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Carolyn Coit Dancy


At the library’s book sale, I’m drawn to the “rare & collectible” section, where a tiny gem awaits discovery. In The Story of a Thousand-Year Pine, Enos Mills provides the biography of a yellow pine, as revealed by its growth rings.

Intrigued by this remarkable tree, I buy the slim volume. It’s a book my father might have read – a man who had loved all living things, especially trees. I recall being rather bored by his lectures on identifying trees, their biological importance, going on and on.

tree climbing

I keep up

with the boys

This yellow pine in the southern Rockies became known as Old Pine. The tree’s majestic height and eight-foot diameter trunk proved to be its downfall. In 1903 loggers swung their axes delivering death-blows to the thousand-year-old tree. When Old Pine crashed to the ground, the impact shattered its trunk. Damage was so extensive the mill owner claimed "It won't pay to saw it into lumber," so Old Pine was left to rot.

lost in the woods

I follow

Daddy's advice

Enos A. Mills, The Thousand-Year Pine, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914.