It’s true that I am this tree here, standing starkly against the plains landscape with the out-of-reach mountains in the background. Once so vibrant, unafraid, now resting half-dead and waiting for the insects to burrow themselves into its bark.
This tree, still a viable perch for anxious hawks searching for field mice. This lonely cottonwood, defiantly naked in the sun while its smaller counterparts are beginning to blossom with the warm rays of May.
This tree framed by perfectly puffy white clouds and that ever-blue Colorado sky and the yellow and green grasses reaching from its roots to its branches, never able to reach far enough.
This tree, waiting for the right moment to release itself to the Earth, to decompose amongst the ashes of its ancestors, to not stand so high, so solitary, so isolated from its surroundings.
And you may not see it for what it is or what it once was: A testimony to strength in a harsh environment. A root ball so tenacious it stretches beyond the creek that feeds it, far into the wetlands, searching for those snow-capped peaks, the very peaks that feed it with their snowmelt.
And you may not think it should still stand, rather that it should fall and become a nurse log for the surrounding saplings.
Instead, it cuts into the horizon, carving a definitive form made from a lifetime of gnarled limbs into the sky, ready to fight until the sky falls, or it falls.
Whichever comes first.