Whispering Pines

When visiting my sister in the foothills south of the Sierra valley, we walked her horse, Jasper, up the mountain tracks into the neighboring Toiyabe National Forest. Over a hundred years ago the native pines had been clear cut and replanted with fir. A few years ago, the dying and diseased fir succumbed to fire, and so most of the hills are now bare of forests. But some pockets of pine remained, and the school children of Loyalton participated in a massive replanting of native mixed trees.

We rested in one of the untouched stands of pines and I became aware of the sound of water rushing nearby. “No,” Betsy and AJM corrected me simultaneously, “That’s the wind in the pines.” That gentle wind, wending down the valley from one tree to another, gurgled through the pines like falling water.

Now I know why they call them whispering pines.

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