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Ghost pine, Pinus sabiniana, is an airy, grey-colored pine found in the foothills of California, ringing the Central Valley. This pine was once called 'digger pine' but the name is derogatory to some tribes of Native Americans, so it was abandoned, for names like 'grey pine' or 'foothill pine'. However, these names just don't seem to work. 'Ghost Pine' does. These pines aren't triangle-shaped like most pines. They grow in great irregular blobs. They are found sticking out of chaparral, spotted along the hillsides of the coast range and Sierra foothills. They are grey-blue in color, and thin enough to appear translucent. At sunset or sunrise, they truly look like ghosts, watching over the shrub-covered hills. At times it seems as if they bear the ghosts of the people who once lived here and depended on their seeds, watching over their stolen land. But they don't feel angry.. just tired and waiting, waiting for their chance. In the mean time, the trees thrive in the dry, serpentine hills.

Today a storm dropped like a rock straight down from Alaska. The storm dragged with it cold air, far colder than is usually seen in California. And with the cold air came snow... in great globs the size of golf balls. It coated the hills, several inches deep in places, and in the valleys cold rain and sleet fell. The snow was dragged low enough to dust the ghost pines on the higher hills. Never have they seemed more ghostly and mysterious than this morning, as the sunlight first hit their frosted needles and splattered into a million pieces. Some of these trees are over a hundred years old and have only felt the soft cover of snow a handful of times... yet somehow in their genetic memory they stand strong in the snow like ghosts...