Sno-cone trees

Saplings covered with snow. The one in the middle will straighten as the snow melts from its top.

Saplings covered with snow. The one in the middle will straighten as the snow melts from its top.

The deep snows of January this year remind me of some winters at Montecito-Sequouia Lodge, where I lived and worked in the ski touring program. It lies at 7,200 feet elevation on the Generals Highway between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
One crisp morning after a snowfall I went exploring in the woods near the buildings. I fo;und myself surrounded by young red firs whose still-short branches, extending to below the snowline, were nearly completely covered with snow.

At the edge of a small clearing were five smaller trees. Two had been bent over at the tips by a previous recent snowfall; last night’s snowfall had mantled them again, further bending the tops until they pointed back toward the trunks.

A third was completely covered except for a space a few inches wide where I could see into the interiour of the tree. The other two made their presence known only by conical mounds a foot and a half or two feet tall projecting above the flat snow surface.

Natural sno-cones–of the purest, cleanest material–snow precipitated out of our atmosphere–the atmosphere we breathe and upon which we depend for life. It’s an unimagionable blessing to be made part of this system of wonder and beauty. I breathe the air that flows among the trees and peaks of the mountains. I breathe it here as I write this.

Let’s do our part to help keep our atmosphere clean.

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About David McCoard

After earning my MS in geology I've done various things including managing the ski touring program at a small lodge in the Sierra. In 2010 I retired from Contra Costa College in California. I've always been fascinated by the mountains and nature and have spent countless days hiking, backpacking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra. The spiritual insights I've learned there have set the course for my life. Now I have time to share them and strike up a conversation.
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