Adam’s Tree, Merry Christmas!

My son,  Adam was christened Adam Bayley Briner at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Ranchos de Taos, NM on July 13th, 1977.  My parents and younger brother, James attended the celebration.  My Dad marked the occasion by taking 13 pine trees from our yard in Taos Ski Valley.  He transported them to WI as a keepsake of that memorable event.

Over the next two decades my Dad nourished, pruned, fertilized, transplanted and loved those trees.  In the end, just one survived.  My parents called it, “Adam’s Tree”.  Each summer our family would travel back to WI, marking the tree’s growth with photos of its progress.  My Dad wanted to put Christmas lights on the tree for the holidays but always hesitated saying, “that tree is perfect.  It doesn’t need lights”.

Aging parents mark all kinds of things in your life.  For me, the hardest day was moving them from their beloved home.  I took one last look at “Adam’s Tree” and walked out the backyard.

Two years later, the new owners of my parent’s house cut “Adam’s Tree” down in order to put an addition on the house.

My parents had six children and we all fit comfortably in that house for 38 years.  The new owners had one child.  Yikes.





I’ve often thought of that tree over the years.  When my good friend, Asa Armstrong asked me to donate artwork for a project she was working on, I jumped at the chance.  Asa is the Director of the Bristlecone Foundation in Summit County, CO.

She had a fantastic idea and created…

The Legacy Forest…A Donation That Keeps Growing

To raise funds & reforest an area decimated by the pine-beetle epidemic, Asa began to plant tree seedlings throughout Summit County.  Asa used artwork from different artists including myself for the card donation image.  For a $20.00 donation a tree could be planted in honor or memory of a loved one with 100% of the donation helping to support patients & families of Bristlecone Health.   Those that donated watched their donation grow into a magnificent tree.

I watched the image of “Adam’s Tree” used to perpetuate the care, love & support my Dad had given me, my family & “Adam’s Tree”.





Just the name “Bristlecone” hooked me.  It’s the oldest known organism on earth.  The tree can survive on a small root portion that continues to grow even after the main part of the tree dies.  They live in a harsh environment usually above 10,000 feet.  Poor soil stunts and sculpts the tree into all sorts of contorted forms.  The tree doesn’t decompose because the wood is resinous.  The similarities to “Adam’s Tree” couldn’t be denied.

For more information about Bristlecone Foundation or to make a donation, please contact Asa Armstrong, Development Officer

970-668-8444 or

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