Kimberly, British Columbia
The very air shimmered and shook at its birth. The violent upheaval in the earth’s young crust sent it shooting into the smoky sky until it finally reached its utmost level of growth. Over the next few millennia there was more shaking and vibrating but it stood tall, a sentinel for all time.
Several ice ages and their resulting glaciers sculpted and gave the sentinel its present shape, a huge rocky mountain that, over hundreds of centuries finally achieved the appearance it now had. Rocky outcrops were scattered here and there, along all of its many sides and trees dotted all but the very tip, leaving a large rocky peak that was usually covered with snow and ice all year long. Sure, the snow would lessen during the heat of the summer sun, but even old sol wasn’t warm enough to completely bare the granite for all to see.
To the sentinel, this was life and it would probably never change. Did it mind? Not at all! Such was its destiny from its inception millions of years ago and that would never change in all the lifetimes that it would stand in that spot.
The sentinel had seen much in its long existence and it would undoubtedly see much more, if it could even see at all. However, if it could see and indeed talk, the countless stories would fill book after book, leaving those interested in such things breathless as they read about what had happened in that very spot. Archaeologists and historians would be in their glory as they read the tomes and tried to piece together the history of man and indeed this very planet.
For starters, they would learn the exact moment in history when this mountain was born and the events surrounding that birth. They would have learned of the plants and animals that roamed this particular area and what caused them to disappear from the face of the earth. Vivid descriptions of the birth of the three valleys it overlooked would keep scholars reading for years to see how the lakes and rivers that sat at its base were formed. However, that would never happen so speculation would have to suffice.
The sentinel had seen much in its lifetime. It had seen the coming and going of the dinosaurs and the foliage that those beasts needed for sustenance. It had seen the coming of man and had seen how the two legged animals managed to survive in such a hostile environment using the various caves and amenities the mountain had to offer.
It had seen the formation of three lakes that sat on three sides of its immenseness and reflected its image to the skies. Trout and various other forms of aquatic life gradually made an appearance in those quiet waters and swam safely for eons until the two legged ones discovered that they could be utilized as a food source.
Rivers ran on all sides of the mountain. They ran beside and through the lakes, keeping them full of water so that the life in there would be sustained, and removing things that didn’t belong there by sweeping them up in their currents and taking them away to deposit them in a more fitting location.
Over the centuries, more two legged animals appeared on the scene, as well as completely different varieties of four legged ones that the two legged ones captured and killed for their sustenance as the earlier two legged ones had done. Their methods and weapons were very different but the results were very similar.
It had only been in recent times that the two legged ones had figured out how to travel over the surface of the water and that seemed to make it easier for them to utilize the aquatic life as a food source. It also allowed the two legged animals a chance to move easier from place to place without having to risk their lives traversing the steep mountainside. Only those who wanted to hunt the four legged animals that called the mountain top their home dared to attempt the climb up the jagged sides of the mountain and several of those lost their lives after slipping or falling off one cliff or another.
Even more recently, the sentinel had seen some very strange things happening and it could only watch as events unfolded on and around it. Noisy, smelly machines had made trails along the base of the mountain and had removed a lot of the trees that had tried for centuries to keep their footing in the rocky soil that covered the mountain. These machines were being controlled by a different sort of two legged animal that seemed to be far more knowledgeable than those that came before them and had far superior equipment than the earlier ones.
These newer animals had scarred the entire area with their trails and tree after tree disappeared from the surrounding area as well as on the mountain itself. There seemed to be nothing that could stop this theft and the mountain could do nothing except watch it all happen. However, most of those trees that had been removed were replaced by smaller trees.
In the many intervals between the trees disappearing, the sentinel saw many other strange things that it could never explain even if it could talk. Some of those events had been happening off and on since the appearance of the two legged animals and they were still happening to this day.
Two legged animals, either solitary or in groups would check out the flowing rivers that ran down from the higher peaks and remove bits of stone from their beds. Some of these animals would shout with glee but many others just kept on checking their round pans and kept on moving.
Others would bring tools and make holes at the base of the mountain, as if they were searching for something in particular and most went away dejected due to the rocky nature of the mountain and its seeming unwillingness to give up its secrets. Had these animals thought to check a little higher up on the north side, they might have found what they were looking for.
There were other animals who visited this mountain with seemingly good intentions. These animals would set up portable houses and live by the lakes and just enjoy what the area had to offer. These animals would splash around in the lakes or attempt to remove some of the aquatic life for their sustenance. Many succeeded and many failed and the mountain saw it all.
It had seen turmoil between different groups of two legged animals and had seen many lives terminate during its long history. To the mountain, it seemed like turmoil happened quite often and it was at a loss to fathom such actions.
It had seen other such strange behavior from these two legged animals and wasn’t quite sure how to explain it if indeed it could. He had seen small groups of people dancing around small fires and throwing things to the ground that caused others to harm themselves and that eventually caused great fires to ravish the area, charring the trees and mountains beyond repair. Fire had happened quite often so the mountain was used to seeing it come and go and watched as the trees and other plant life fought to regain their hold on the area.
He had seen other animals come to his pristine area in smaller machines and had no idea what was happening when someone was about to lose their virginity or their life. It didn’t even care! It had stood here since time began on this planet and it would stand there until the rest of time.
It was uncaring and unmoving. It had survived everything that could be thrown at it and it still stood. It would stand forever, unless the two legged animals decided that it needed to be removed. Until that day it would remain as it always had. It would be the Sentinel.
Bio: Lloyd says he was inspired to write this story whilst on his way home one day. He noticed a lone tree at the top of a mountain, it got him thinking, not about the tree, but about the mountain it sat upon.