dVerse — Prosery — The Last Word

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1e/Gnarly_Bristlecone_Pine.jpg/640px-Gnarly_Bristlecone_Pine.jpg

I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.
— Wisława Szymborska, “Possibilities”

We were committed tree-huggers, yet we were scientists first. Space-X and Amazon Foundation sponsored our team to study the White Mountain bristlecone pines to figure out how to mimic their hardiness via gene engineering. Humankind’s hourglass had no flips left. Shuttles were on standby to the earth-orbiting ships.

Congress lifted all protections from the trees. The UN Assembly suspended the bill of human rights so prisoners could be test subjects. Musk built us the desert lab and Bezos filled it with equipment. Nat Geo recorded and broadcast updates globally.

The cones went first. A year later each tree had been cross-sectioned. They had the last word – we would be no more.

Would humans come back in another form? Or would we exist as wandering ghosts, finally harmless? I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.

[144 words]

About the top image, taken by Rick Goldwaser on 11/29/08: This is a long exposure taken after sunset in the Bristlecone Pine Forest of the White Mountains in California. This particular grove of bristlecones are the oldest living things on the planet, many of them are over 4000 years old and the oldest has been dated to over 4700 years.

What I find particularly fascinating about the bristlecone pine is that they generally compete poorly in less-than-harsh environments, making them hard to cultivate. In gardens, they succumb quickly to root rot. They do very well, however, where most other plants cannot even grow, such as in rocky dolomitic soils in areas with virtually no rainfall. I’ve been thinking about them since seeing a photo a week or so ago and how the tree appears almost completely dead except for a few spindly green sprouts.

Merril is today’s host of dVerse’ Prosery. Merril says:
Since this is prosery, I’ve chosen one line from [Szymborska’s] poem, “Possibilities,” which you must incorporate into a piece of prose. This can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction, but it must be prose! And it must be no longer than 144 words, not including the title.

55 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my gosh Lisa- I LOVE this! And thanks for the knowledge on the bristlecone pine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Linda glad you enjoyed the story. My pleasure on info on the bristlecone pine. I just read your story and loved how you took it one step further.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I really did enjoy it. You do sci-fi so well.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. lillian says:

    The image is gorgeous! What an interesting existence the Bristlecone lives and has survived through.
    I find this piece a bit frightening because there are details that are rooted in our world today, but you draw them out to frightening conclusions. Will we survive? Such a question to ponder….most especially when you take facts of today and stretch them out and out and out….hopefully this is not their logical conclusions!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Lillian. Sci Fi is a genre I like to write. I hope we are either wise enough or otherwise compelled to do what it takes to save our species.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sanaarizvi says:

    This is incredibly riveting, Lisa! I love the questions that you pose here especially; “Would humans come back in another form? Or would we exist as wandering ghosts, finally harmless?” That remains to be seen, my friend 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Sanaa, glad you liked the story.

      Like

  4. merrildsmith says:

    This is a scary story filled with wondrous possibility. Thank you for all the info on the bristlecone pine. That’s fascinating how they have survived. Also, the music–I was thinking of this piece not too long ago! It’s one that resonates in me. I remember it being played long ago during Ken Burn’s Civil War series way back when that was on for the first time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you. I like how you describe the story, Merril. I knew that song sounded familiar but didn’t remember from where. Thanks for the jog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. merrildsmith says:

        You’re very welcome, Lisa!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes it exists, but on its own terms. I love learning about this tree and your story nailed the challenge. Wonderful Lisa ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Christine, thank you ❤

      Like

  6. Ingrid says:

    Oh, I could imagine this scenario actually happening, frighteningly! What fascinating trees though: I had no idea there was any living thing so old on the earth!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I knew about these trees but nothing beyond that they could live a long time. When I finally saw a pic and how most of the tree is dead it got me interested in learning more about them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We have soon doomed ourselves to a desperate mission like this.. Earth will recover, and I wonder if ever someone will come looking for humanity and wonder about the folly of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      As ancient and vast as the cosmos is, there’s at least a chance.. When I think of macro vs. micro, if we were a micro, say a leaf lying in the forest, what would the odds be of someone finding us out there in the forest? We’re a part of “something” but how big we are in the scheme of things is anyone’s guess.

      Like

  8. Gillena Cox says:

    Gorgeous photo, enjoyed your musings of human kind’s forward thrust
    Enjoyed the music

    Much💜love

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Gillena, thanks much ❤

      Like

  9. kim881 says:

    You already know how much I love trees and get excited about ones I haven’t come across before. I knew nothing of Bristlecone Pines or tat there was even a forest of them, and I love them, especially as they are ancient and do well where most other plants can’t even grow. I love the photograph! And your sci-ci prose piece, which isn’t far from the truth! Tree-hugging scientists really appeal to me, as did the sentence: ‘Humankind’s hourglass had no flips left’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, I do 🙂 It’s an amazing species of tree. Hoping to take a trip out to see them at some point, along with so many other things once travel opens up. Thank you very much for your lovely comment, Kim.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah, the complexities … And the moral choices … Nice!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Na’ama!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sadje says:

    I love how you’ve incorporated the theme with the idea that humans are going to herald their own end with their stupidity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Sadje.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re welcome 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  12. rothpoetry says:

    Very good Lisa! That is one gnarly tree! I believe the earth and plants will survive long after we are gone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I think so also, Dwight.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. robtkistner says:

    Lisa Lisa Lisa — loved this bit of futurism! Excellent my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. robtkistner says:

      And great pic…

      Liked by 2 people

    2. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Rob, glad you liked the story and the pic.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Intrigued by the bristlecones and impressed by your story! I enjoyed how you used politics of the UN plus Musk and Bezos during our end times. It is a technocracy. Existence has a plan I’m sure and I think we won’t be pawned off on other planets! 💯

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      LOL I love your comment, Tricia. I hope not!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. rogblog666 says:

    i have discovered a new tree today. thank you great take on the prompy to

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy to introduce you to the new tree 🙂 Thanks, Rog!

      Like

  16. K.Hartless says:

    I’m amazed at how in 144 words you build this world with crusaders for the trees. I really enjoyed your piece and want to hear more about the tree-huggers adventures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, K.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Lisa, wow, as usual. I love how you managed to turn this into fiction – I couldn’t disassociate myself from the line enough to do so. You are a fantastic writer.

    Yours,
    David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment, David.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    The picture…it looks so twisted and you can almost see faces in it….love the music also Lisa…makes me feel at home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I want to go see these trees up close and also the redwoods. It would be fun to do a tree tour, which I may just do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Oh I’ve always wanted to see a redwood…I love these trees also. They are beautiful on one hand but nightmares could be built around them in another.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. msjadeli says:

          What scares you about the redwoods? I’m sure I’d feel like an ant next to one.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

            Oh no… these trees you featured…I love them but they are so twisted…it’s like they have a long terrible story to tell.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. msjadeli says:

              OH! I’m sure they do, but that’s what makes them interesting. Imagining how many stories you could tell from living 4000 years…

              Liked by 1 person

              1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                They do talk also…certain things about them does tell a story. I looked at your post late last night and I saw faces in the tree…really cool…you know…things about it that looked like faces staring out.

                Liked by 2 people

  19. judeitakali says:

    Loved your story, and glad to discover more about the pinecone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Jude. Hopefully the scientists missed some of them so they can resprout after we’re gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. judeitakali says:

        Yes please, I hope 🙏🏽😃

        Liked by 2 people

  20. calmkate says:

    sock it to em Lisa! Hoping your futuristic sci fi motivates at least one person to lessen their carbon footprint …

    Those trees are a total work of art, surreal, they speak to me … thanks for planting the seed of awareness

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Kate. I see a powerful metaphor for humans in those trees.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate says:

        absolutely, they like like wisened Yoda’s

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Mish says:

    Love the way your mind creates, Lisa. Sci fi is not my forte. Meanwhile so many outcomes we couldn’t even have imagined have already transpired. Especially liked the impact of this line…”Humankind’s hourglass had no flips left.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Mish. I feel we are on a trajectory we will not sway from. Even if every person on the planet fully committed to saving the planet today, it may be too late (without outside intervention of one form or another.)

      Like

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