Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

I’m standing on a pale slope. Limestone falls away in plates forever.
Bristlecone stands twisted, pirouettes like horn on the mountainside.
Some have split and fallen two-pronged and yet live. Green needles,
vibrant against the pallor of all else.

To the northwest clouds gather and I can see long filmy sheets of rain. Thunder rolls softly.
Where I am, the clouds are broken - a patchwork of soft white and a blue
so pure my heart aches. High above, a red-tailed hawk wheels. Its call
is is at once harsh and beautiful. It screams over and over again. I
smile up at it, fill my lungs with thin air and set off once more.

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