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I've been here for thousands of years. I've never moved from this spot. I was born here, and I will die here. I stand watch over the valley below me. I've watched the wind and the wolves, the goose and the fox, but they have paid me no notice. Birds have taken shelter in my outstreched arms. Squirrles take my fruit and stash it in the folds and cracks of my skin, waiting for the snows to come again.

I've seen fires, big and small. My body is scorched and scarred with the most recent. I remember the searing of my skin, the boiling of my blood, the pain as I was being singed away. But I have survived, and I am strong still. I do not rot; fall slows my blood, and I weather the cold, and when spring comes again I awaken, and can grow once more.

I've seen small ones come and go. Too many times; too often. They are sowed by the wind, the fruit of others, and where they come to rest on the ground they are born, and take root. Some last but a few days, not even enough time to take root. Other last a few years or more, then die, ravengened by wind, rain or fire. Some are culled, giving their lives for others, some die starved for sun or water. But I have survived here.

Once the mountains settled, I was born, put to wait, watch, and grow. A rail line and a highway cut through the valley below. Wilderness is falling back under the onslought on Man. Forward they push, always fighting for more, and the shrill cry of the wind through the mountain peaks sounds retreat, retreat. Clearcuts approach now, my time is short. Ski Resorts and golf courses intrude. Migration paths are limited, the Elk and the Bear cannot get home for winter.

Death now, brought by sharpened links of chain. Fire, wind, water, and earth, those which give us life, sustain us, and destory us. Nature has her days, but nothing so far has stopped the onslaught of Man.

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