New Life From an Old Body
In 1914, an archaeologist named Nels Nelson, working for the National Museum of Natural History in NY, took a photograph of a juniper tree at San Lazaro Pueblo. It was in full growth and seemingly in good health. I have that photo someplace but am too lazy to go into my basement and look for it.
Many years later, I took this photo of the same tree. It looked melancholy and forlorn, a stump of its former self. Well, here, you can see for yourself.
Sometime after 1914, someone cut all of its arms off, probably for no greater gain than to build a fence. It must have been a painful experience because an axe was used to do the cutting. Orange lichen soon covered its remnants as if to say “We’re helping you buddy, hang on.” It couldn’t, so it didn’t.
About 20 years ago I couldn’t stand it any longer so I brought that beautiful thing home. Now it relaxes under a growing pinon tree by my gate. It has earned a rest.
Juniper is a hard wood that grows slowly and rots slowly. Nevertheless, I know that in another 100 years it will be gone. But in leaving, its decomposing body will fertilize a new generation of growth. I planted a small cluster of juniper berries near its soft underbelly, where they will get moisture from the ground, energy from the growing rays of sun, and nourishment from juniper decay.
Covenants on my 2 ½ acres say that no additional structures can be built on the property. So I expect the berries to germinate undisturbed, and enjoy full growth for many years. And every spring their own berries will residuate as the process renews.
Please don’t anyone say I can’t influence the future? f