Easy Chair Crater – Lunar Crater National Nature Landmark, Nye County, Nevada ©2006 Art Sistare. All Rights Reserved

From a hundred miles in space, Nevada resembles a rumpled-up sandbox. But up close we all know the truth; the artistry of Nevada’s nature and beauty resound everywhere. From the tops of the ranges to the flats of the basins, Nevada is alive with wondrous splendor.

And everyone knows Nevada’s birth date: October 31,1864 – Battle Born. What they don’t know is mine. Nevada turned ninety-one years on the day I entered this world in a county hospital 3,000 miles to the east, just outside the City of Brotherly Love.

The east is in my blood. I come from there.

Nevada is in my heart. I was taken there… and smitten. As much as any kid can learn to love, I did.

My football coach at home and the late iconic Nevada Rancher, Peter E. Marble, gave me the chance to live and learn Nevada-style.

I was seventeen in the summer of 1973 when I landed in Deeth. It was at Pete’s ranch where I would work until school began in the fall. I stepped from the car and saw forever fences that ran in all directions from the juncture of the Interstate and the washboard dirt roads. The posts were cedar, gangly and crooked, yet sturdy; each drawn tight in line by four rusted strands of barbed wire that grabbed hard and added support in the lonely expanse. The procession of their enclosures marched east and west and north and south until the strain to keep their ends in focus stirred my eyeballs to a blend of earth and sky. And there my time in Nevada began.

For the most, I have ‘stayed on’ and the affair has spanned the decades since: from several ranches across Elko County, to a career in law enforcement – Elko PD and Reno PD, even now still working, semi-retired at the Nevada Legislative Police in Carson City.

So from here I send a heartfelt gift to Nevada at its 150th birthday, a poem for the ages:

The Tree of Nevada

Once,
Time was newborn
Wailing
At bright blue skies
And cold dark nights,
Sprinkled with star light
Shining.

They rained upon
A silent
Falling
Across the mountain
Scape.

And there has grown,
pinus longaeva:

A Bristlecone Pine
Twisted
Standing,

Lonesome is the pain
Distressing.

Yet there was found
An unshared dream
Atop this world triumphant.

Live long,
Amidst your toil
And trouble.

Be strong,
From each adversity
Facing.

An Icon bestowed:

For the days of your life
Everlasting.

Smile happy,
Joyous
With laughter
Raucous,
At the tickle and quake
Of eons of breezes
Astride your limbs
Well
Strapping.

And rooted, still,
‘Round boulders
From heaven,
At your feet
Nestled gently
Lying,

The days of your life
Everlasting.

There,
Wonder lives,
An only friend,
In miles
Of endless wild.

Now look across
Your special home
Through aimless winds a
Drifting.

Then trudge in place
Cross soil and rock,
The arrow of time soars
Fleeting,

The days of your life
Everlasting.

‘Til no longer strong
With aim or heed,
Weak for a night’s sleep
Waiting.

And there you will stand,
The Icon hence,
In this Home
We call Nevada.

©2014 Art Sistare. All rights reserved