There’s something sempiternal about trees. Majestic specimens with perfect balance and symmetry have the power to inspire and lift downtrodden spirits. Those fortunate enough to avoid the timber mill and furniture factory can lead some astonishingly long lives. Thousand year oaks and araucarias, two thousand year baobabs and figs, three thousand year sequoias and jequitibá-rosa, four thousand year yew and cypress, five thousand year bristlecone pines and six thousand year olives (not to mention clonal trees with shared root systems – there’s a male quaking aspen colony, named Pando, believed to be somewhere north of 14 thousand years old!). Yet, even under ideal circumstances, trees eventually die. Plains cottonwoods have a 70 year average lifespan and, while allergy sufferers might consider them giant weeds, they can be beautiful. As they near their end, fewer leaves emerge each year. The bark is shed and bleached branches call to mind a giant skeletal relic of its former glory. As I pass one such specimen at dry creek, a small tuft of leaves still sprouting from its fading trunk serves as a reminder that plentiful water, good soil and being spared the axe were not enough to prevent this Goliath’s inevitable demise. Time holds still for no one, so make the most of it. Find your favorite shade tree, grab a donut and take a moment to count your blessings.