FISH LAKE NATIONAL FOREST—There was a boy named Gary here, in 1984. He carved his name into the bark of an aspen tree, and, next to that, the name of his lover, Lori.
Then, hedging his bets against beavers and beetles, fires and foresters, he did it again. And again. And again.
The letters he cut into these chalky-white trunks long ago blackened into thick, rough scars. Some have cankered, oozing with coffee-colored sap. At least one of the trunks that carried Gary’s marks has fallen, split and splintered right above his name.
Love being what it is, it’s possible these carvings have outlasted Gary and Lori’s romance. Aspens being what they are, it is very likely they will outlast Gary and Lori, too.
But in the long run—and it is a very long run—all of these marks will fall away. The bark will peel. The trunks will fall. Time will do what time does to all things.
Even to this ancient aspen forest. … read more.