Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) (VIII.25.08) . . .

An area in the South Wallowas ascending into subalpine zone above
2100 meters on a southern exposure, just under Krag Peak.

Sagebrush on southern exposures in the Wallowas is a species
to watch carefully. A sign of increasing temperatures and
decreasing precipitation? With more water, Ponderosa Pine
moves out and down into the canyonlands; with less water,
Sagebrush moves up into the mountains. Eagle Cap Wilderness

On the road in the Northwest of America.


Sudden change even a child can see. But it is the slow,
hard to perceive changes that require the experienced eye
and acquired wisdom of the elder. A wise eye may see that
a certain bird species fails to return in the spring; or others
that have never been there before; it may see when a new
type of noxious weed pulls into town; or when a small stream
or creek runs dry in August, whereas just a decade ago it still
delivered reliable water for crops until the fresh rains of fall.

The scientist studies, gets paid, and walks away. But the
wisdom of the elder by its very nature stays put, and like a tree
with solid, deep roots, is more likely, in my opinion, to stand
its ground and protect the land of which it is a part.

One of the first lessons of the young should be from this point
of view to learn to feel in its bones the need to safeguard this
wisdom of the elders, for that is what in turn safeguards their
own future, and their children's future. Likewise, one of the urgent
tasks of the older generation is to take off the tight jeans
purchased from the cute teenage girl at the big city mall, and
learn again to move with, like the dignified ridgetop stonepine
that has seen perhaps a thousand winters, the slower, deeper,
and much more resonant drum beat of wisdom and great age.

Camp Lost & Found,
Eagle Cap Wilderness,
Oregon, VIII.17.2008

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1999-2011
(created: VIII.28.2008)