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The Crown of the Continent

These intricately detailed mountains still hold spiritual significance to the local Nitsitapii “real people," collectively called the Blackfoot/Siksika.

Glacier National Park is in north western Montana takes its name from the many glaciers and glacial forces that shaped the topology. Even though the Ice Age glaciers are gone, the results of their passing are evident on the landscape.

There are 762 lakes in Glacier National Park, 131 of which are named. Nearly 10 miles long and nearly 500 feet deep Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park.

I sat admiring the rushing water inlet to Lake McDonald, the smooth and colorful river stones, mountains blanketed in countless shades of green and the enormity and splendor of the surrounding mountains.

Suddenly a pine tree began to fall over.

It didn’t quite finish its descent down. It stopped, suspended halfway between that tall, straight stance it once stood and the ground that it will eventually lay upon, according to its trajectory.

Here at Lake McDonald, inside Glacier National Park, I am engulfed between a sea of pine trees: Douglas-fir, Lodgepole pine, Ponderosa pine, Spruce-fir, Limber pine and others! So many trees gather here, they don’t even feel individual. Together, they give the impression of one big tree, and yet, this one pine made its way to stand out.

I heard the crackle of branches and there, it bowed toward me.

Trees are known to have various meanings—life, new growth, dreams and hopes.

What about a fallen tree? I’d venture to say that it symbolizes death, the end of a cycle. I’ve always loved the meaning of the word death in Aramaic because it translates as “to be present elsewhere.”

And...a tree hanging there halfway between worlds... what might that mean?

Perhaps it could mean that in the midst of our journey from beginning to end we may want to pause and evaluate our direction.

Maybe it was simply a sacred bow.

It is quite possible that it was a generous gift for me to take a snapshot in time.

The mountains, trees and bodies of water are glorious and feel alive with untold stories.

I’m taking it all in, staying out of my head and remaining in my heart. xo -a

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