1 04, 2021

Unpredictable: Debbie’s Story

by Bree L

No one can predict who will be an alcoholic. Especially when members like Debbie describe an idyllic childhood growing up outside of Sacramento. At the few drinking parties she attended, she got sick and never thought of over-drinking. Then she became pregnant in high school. Two weeks after her sixteenth birthday, she was married and moved in with her new husband’s family. This cemented her plan for happy motherhood, a new son, a new husband and a ready-made family. Everything seemed wonderful until she realized she’d missed out on her youth. She was now viewed as an adult. Her drinking increased and she cheated on her husband. 

To facilitate her new lifestyle, she moved out, got on welfare and found an apartment. It all seemed so easy. She shared custody and at seventeen moved to Hawaii, leaving her son with his Dad.  After a couple years away, she moved back to the States and worked as a bartender.

Debbie came out of a blackout and hitched a ride to a sleazy motel. Along the way she was raped. Her mother took her back to her grandmother’s (who was in AA) and she discovered she was pregnant. 

Debbie came out of a blackout and hitched a ride to a sleazy motel

Overall, Debbie tells of being married six times and committing bigamy twice. During her first illegal marriage she moved to San Francisco and attended mortuary college. Here she became a licensed funeral director and worked in the funeral business, from Sacramento to San Francisco, and finally migrating back to Maui. 

Her drinking escalated. She began stealing petty cash, showing up late to work, or not showing up at all. Around this time, she decided she needed to have another baby.

She looked for the most single biker she could find and within five months was married and pregnant. During the pregnancy she did a lot of pain pills and cocaine and ended up in a women’s shelter on Maui. Eventually she returned to the latest baby’s father. They moved back to San Francisco to live with her parents.

She looked for the most single biker she could find

She also worked off and on as an apartment manager. Her mother vouched for her experience. Debbie moved with her daughter to Sacramento to manage an apartment complex. Here she met her fifth husband, an alcoholic, when she rented him an apartment. After this marriage, she lost control of her drinking, developed delirium tremens (DTs) and began vomiting. This was in the year 2000. Her husband said, “I know what you need.” He gave her a plastic cup of wine which did the trick. She returned to drinking round the clock. 

Debbie had always known about AA.  Her grandmother had taken her to meetings when she was ten. At seventeen, her parents had also taken her to meetings. All in all, Debbie bounced around a lot in AA. She was in and out of sobriety but never ready to stop.

In 2010 her father said he would rent her and her daughter an apartment, but would only pay the rent if she’d “get her sh*t together.” She lasted less than a month. She got drunk, received a DUI, blacked out and was in jail for forty-five days. 

Her grandmother had taken her to meetings when she was ten

Once released from jail, Debbie called her mother and said, “Help me get into rehab in San Francisco. If you don’t help me, I’m going to die.” She checked into the SF Civic Center Hotel while trying to get into the rehab facility. After three nights she came out of the blackout in a cardboard box in front of a hospital. She cleaned up as best she could, went to the nearest bar and asked for booze. The bartender called the police. They asked, “Do you really want to go to jail?” They suggested a detox.

She went from detox to a residential treatment program. She left every day to prostitute herself, drink, and do drugs while searching for an inpatient addiction facility.

Finally, she made it to her third recovery center and got a job. She put herself on their waiting list and was admitted. Two months in, she was planning her next drink when she could take an overnight. The director looked directly at her and said, “You’re just a typical alcoholic, and you’re not going to make it.” There was something in that look that hit Debbie. “There was fear in his wrath,” she said. She stopped talking and started to listen. 

Twenty-eight days afterwards, the director said, “You shine up really quick.” He offered her a job as a night security person. She’s been there ever since and now is working in administration. 

1 04, 2021

The Difference Between Intergroup and GSO

by Jackie B

My name is Jackie and I am an alcoholic. I serve the San Francisco Fellowship as the Chair of our General Service District. While Intergroup serves the local needs of members in San Francisco and Marin Counties, our General Service District links the meetings in San Francisco to AA as a whole. Marin County is in its own separate District.

Intergroup Representatives (IGRs) discuss and vote on matters that affect SF and Marin groups locally – like our meeting schedule and the multi-faceted operations of Central Office, bookstore, Teleservice, Chat Help, The Buzz, The Point and the website On behalf of their home groups, IGRs guide the policy of the Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (IFAA) Board of Directors who are fiscally responsible for Central Office and its combined services. 

Intergroup Reps vote on matters that affect SF and Marin groups locally – like our meeting schedule

On the other hand, General Service Representatives (GSRs) discuss and vote on matters that affect the policy of the General Service Board, the legal entity that owns and oversees the operation of AA’s worldwide headquarters, known as the General Service Office (GSO) in New York City. They also produce the AA Grapevine and our Spanish-language publication, La Viña.  GSO produces, translates, publishes and distributes literature and pamphlets, including Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Living Sober, Daily Reflections and of course our “Big Book” Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book is currently translated into 73 different languages, the most recent being Tartar and Navajo.

GSO is also responsible for AA’s national and international public relations with the press and professionals working in the fields of corrections, medicine, psychiatry, clergy and government.  Our world service headquarters helps AA start in other countries, often requiring coordination with the US State Department, foreign governments and international embassies. Our paid staff at GSO shares decades of experience and best practices with any member or group who writes in or calls with a question or problem.  

To have a voice at Intergroup or General Service, a group needs representation

Both Central Office and GSO never tell a member or group what to do. They only offer suggestions based on the lessons of experience. Just as Tradition Two says,  “Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.”

Intergroup is responsible for providing local services to approximately 700 meetings and groups in San Francisco and Marin. GSO serves over 125,000 groups around the world, almost 70,000 in the United States and Canada alone. So while the A.A. groups in San Francisco and Marin can directly send a representative to speak to the IFAA Board of Directors, this kind of direct representation is not possible when it comes to General Service. If even 10% of the groups in the US and Canada were represented directly, that would require a quorum of 4000 to get anything done.

In order to make a representative body effective at the level of General Service, the groups in the U.S. and Canada have had to delegate. We elect delegates to carry the group conscience of the AA groups in their “area” to an annual business meeting called the General Service Conference. Because we have so many groups per capita, California is made of seven different General Service Areas. San Francisco and Marin are part of Area 06, called the California Northern Coastal Area 06 (CNCA 06: Click here to check out a map of all the Areas in US and Canada).

GSRs vote on matters that affect the policy of the legal entity that oversees the operation of AA’s worldwide headquarters (GSO) in New York

For the delegate to be fully informed about the groups in their area, GSRs have to connect with their Area Delegate at Area Assemblies. In CNCA 06, we hold these area-wide gatherings four times a year. The next upcoming Assembly will be on Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5, 2021 on Zoom. It is what we call a Pre-Conference Assembly, because it is taking place right before the General Service Conference. It is a time and place when GSRs can directly tell the delegate what their group thinks about some of the items up for discussion and voting at the Conference. 

This March, GSRs collected group consciences on different items related to the Big Book, the Twelve and Twelve, various existing and proposed pamphlets, GSO finances and policy, public relations kits and more. Not every group can share its opinion on every item up for vote at the Conference, but every group can participate by sharing their opinion on the items that matter most to their group. This could be revising the first 164 pages of the Big Book or adding gender neutral pronouns to the AA Preamble. 

To have a voice at Intergroup or General Service, your group needs representation. And if your group doesn’t have an Intergroup or General Service Representative, bring it up at your next business meeting or during group announcements. If no one is able to step up to the plate, you can still share your individual opinion as an AA member. Central Office and General Service want to hear from you! There are lots of ways to stay informed and be of service. Locally, you can sign up for The Buzz and The Point. At the world service level, you can sign up for GSO’s quarterly newsletter Box 4-5-9. For more information, email [email protected] (DCMC Panel 71, San Francisco General Service).

1 04, 2021

The Meaning of Friendship

by Rick R.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel.


Every so often at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting I hear a newcomer share that most of his old friends stopped coming around and that he thought that he was losing them. Sometimes this may be distressful and may cause a person to question whether the sacrifice is worth the loss of those old acquaintances. 

Sometimes the word friend is misunderstood. We often refer to people we are associated with as friends. Others will say that you can count on one hand the true friends you will have in a lifetime. So where do these acquaintances come in? 

The bottle was all that was necessary and without it we had little in common

I played golf for about 35 years and had many so-called golfer friends. But when the round of golf was over, we put our clubs in the car and went our separate ways. Fishing was the same. When we finished fishing, we put the rods and tackle box in the car and went home. 

With these acquaintances, the common denominator was the golf or the fishing. That is what bound us to each other. I quit playing golf about 15 years ago and when the common denominator was gone, I seldom saw my old golfing friends except in passing where we exchanged pleasantries and again were on our way. 

Understanding this can be a great comfort

Most of the so-called friends I had before I was sober had only one thing in common with me and that was the drinking. Unlike the golf and the fishing, we could drink 24 hours a day if we wanted to. We did not need a boat or even a set of clubs to associate with each other. The bottle was all that was necessary and without it we had little in common. When the common denominator was gone, trying to hang out with them became awkward for them and for me. I had to accept the reality and let them be. If we have anything else in common, we will know it and share that association with each other, but that was seldom the case except for family members or work associates. 

We have a common denominator, like the survivors of a sinking ship

We in AA are fortunate indeed. We have a common denominator that has been likened to the survivors of a sinking ship, in a lifeboat, caring for each other. We associate at such a deep and intimate level that we develop true friendships that the average person seldom is exposed to. Understanding this can be a great comfort to those new members who may need to be prepared to move on with their lives.

If that new member is fortunate enough to adopt the AA program for the long haul, he may become the true friend that those old acquaintances in the bar room may need should they become a troubled alcoholic seeking help themselves. I cannot tell you how many true friends I have developed in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I have been “grappling them unto my soul” for over 50 years now. Thank you, Mr. Shakespeare.

1 04, 2021

Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Now that improvements are being made to the website, maybe it’s time to restore a feature it once had: the ability to access almost the entire archive of The Point. 

Back in the day, you could even search the archive, by date, topic, author,  or other criteria. 

When this capability was removed, the reason given was that access to The Point Archive was not a priority. Maybe in this time of software upgrades we can make it a priority.

A Google search produces scattered results and is a barrier for the unsophisticated internet user. We need a well-organized website with a search function tailored to our site.

Kathleen C

Moving Forward

To the Editor, 

Now that we thankfully have a resolution to the acceptance of the $150,000 bequest far in excess of IFAA’s own guidelines, it’s time to move forward with forgiveness, understanding and love, however not neglecting to learn from our mistakes. It’s time for an honest self-appraisal, an acknowledgment of the defects involved and a sincere attempt to correct the wrongs.

As a result of the bequest issue, we have many new Intergroup Representatives. This is how it works with service committees – we can complain that we don’t have enough representation (perhaps forgetting that we’re only one of several service committees), but ultimately, if an issue arises which is truly vital, the Fellowship rises to the occasion.

It’s tempting for groups and individuals to rest on our laurels. As groups, do we think we’re doing enough if we’re paying our rent and maybe sending out periodic financial distributions? Are we really part of AA if we’re not sending representatives to our service committees? As individuals, do we think we’re doing enough if we’re going to meetings and sponsoring a few people? Are we ignoring the full implications of our Third Legacy because we think service committee meetings are boring or political, when almost all of us have benefitted from the necessary services they provide?

There’s a long period of soul-searching and reconstruction ahead. The groups resoundingly (with 72% of the vote) rejected the excess $140,000 in deviation from our Seventh Tradition guidelines, but why were the funds accepted in the first place? We need to get down to causes and conditions, for after all, bequests are but a symptom.

I look forward to a thorough review of why and how the excess funds were accepted. I look forward to improved transparency. Why wasn’t a question of this magnitude addressed in the monthly meeting announcements? The Buzz? A survey? What on earth is the point of having  Targeted Messages if not to convey issues/questions for the IGR’s to bring back to their groups? Somehow “wash your hands” managed to make it into Targeted Messages, but “ask your groups  if we should accept a $150,000 bequest” didn’t. Why wasn’t the income listed on the monthly financial statement, as are all contributions received by GSO, regardless of how they’re used? Surely, we could have been more transparent.

For the past five months that I’ve attended the Intergroup meetings as a visitor, I’ve noticed a prevailing atmosphere that the board is running the show. This is in direct opposition to our traditions and concepts and the upside down triangle which tell us the board members have delegated administrative responsibility: they implement policies. The group representatives make the policies. The board is supposed to be neutral on decisions in front of the committee, yet, from the amount of space allocated on the website to extolling the benefits of having the funds, to the loaded question “Should Intergroup continue to invest in improvements to the delivery of local services, via technical and operational upgrades through the use of the $140,000 Special Projects Fund?” (sent by the board to the groups on 11/12/2020), it was obvious their agenda was to keep the funds. This top-down management is the antithesis of the spirit of our traditions and exerted an undue influence on the discussion. 

And finally, what’s the deal with this much-touted “consensus model”? AA has had a beautiful method of decision-making that has served us well for decades, discouraging uninformed or hasty decisions. No organization is more respectful of the minority opinion or the right of appeal than AA, but, as Concept IX tells us, “We cannot, however, compromise always. Now and then it is truly necessary to stick flat-footed to one’s conviction about an issue until it is settled.” I know we in the Bay Area like to think of ourselves as a progressive lot, but maybe this falls closer to terminal uniqueness than progress and it may be time to re-think the confusing and ambiguous twinkle fingers approach. While the minutes for the March 2020 meeting state “the groups showed strong support,” many IGR’s have stated during subsequent public discussion that they in no way intended to approve acceptance of the bequest. 

I look forward to the June election of new board members conducted truly in accordance with the Third Legacy Procedure, wherein any members present at the meeting who meet the listed qualifications can make themselves available, state their qualifications and have the IGR’s vote. I look forward to greater humility from the lessons learned. And I look forward to seeing an even stronger Central Office emerge. 

In Fellowship,

Karen C

Editor’s Note: Members who wish to can apply as IFAA board candidates per The Third Legacy Procedure (below) per IFAA Bylaws, p. 5.

the online meeting host position appeared

An Open Letter to Conference Members, Intergroups and Central Offices (Feb. 2021)

The Board of Directors of AA World Services wishes each and every member of our Fellowship and their loved ones the happiest New Year. As we reflect back on the extraordinary events that we all have been experiencing it is with hearts full of gratitude that we say thank you to each and every group and member for all of the spectacular work of carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic that has taken place in these difficult times.

For many, this meant pivoting our groups to be online. For some, greeters became temperature screeners, enthusiastically encouraging mask use. In many of our meetings the coffee maker position went away and the online meeting host position appeared. As our many local AA offices met unsure financial outlooks, groups across the U.S. and Canada figured out how to make their Seventh Tradition support digital and supported one another as a whole. Service workers across the Fellowship worked from home, often tired and understaffed. As the pandemic pushed surges in binge drinking to new heights, our groups met the challenge head on and introduced a new generation of alcoholics to our program who have been sober for months now and have never even experienced an in-person meeting. The best is surely yet to come.

In the early months of 2020, many would not have imagined we could carry our message as fully, as far and as freely as we have online in the last nine to ten months. Some would have actively argued it could not be done. As a society, AA has never faced these challenges before. With no historical reference point for us to look to, after 85 years we faced a new pioneering period.

AA members everywhere responded, adapted and met calamity with serenity. We are a resilient lot. We have seen clearly that the message of AA and the lifesaving experience of our membership need not be limited by time, space, or custom. We are held up by 36 spiritual principles in our Steps, Traditions and Concepts that we can absolutely rely on to guide us through any uncertainty or challenge ahead.

We understand more clearly today the importance of prudence and why we keep a reserve. We have new appreciation for group conscience and its ability to be found even over great distances. Our primary purpose served to keep us unified and as a buoy in uncertain times where being of service to others has helped us through the storm. The evidence of these events over the last year make clear that our legacies of Unity, Service, and Recovery remain strong. We as a board are rejuvenated with hope for a new year ahead and all the great opportunity that awaits as the world begins the slow process of recovery from the pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought very hard, and sometimes tragic events to many among us and around us. In taking stock, these circumstances have forced a crack in our rigidity and created light where before there was only a glimmer. If we leave room for that light to grow and adhere steadfastly to our principles, we can confidently face any uncertainty ahead. As we continue meeting this challenge and those ahead, let us together continue to grow in understanding and effectiveness, constantly working toward ensuring that any person needing the message of AA can find it, and that together we preserve that message for the generations of alcoholics still to come.

Yours in service,

Beau B., Chairperson

A.A.W.S. Board

1 04, 2021

The Importance of Not Caring Too Much

by Brian C.

audio by John B

Sometimes it’s better to not care too much. Really. Caring too much can destroy friendships, screw with your serenity and mess up your sleep schedule. I know: it’s happened to me.

Years ago at one of my meetings, The Friendly Circle, we had to decide whether to put the donuts on separate plates or let the fellowship pick them out of the box. It came up at the business meeting. My friends Kasi and Wolfe were strong advocates of using paper plates (hygiene). I was on the opposite side, saying we had always let people pick the donuts out of the box. Why should we change now? The arguments became heated, and in that process my friendship with Kasi and Wolfe was permanently damaged—we no longer fellowshipped after the meeting.

I regretted being so passionate about paper plates. The price was too high. I hurt my friends. And let’s be honest: paper plates aren’t that important.

We had to decide whether to put donuts on plates or let people pick them out of the box

You can care too much about sponsees, too. My first sponsee would call me up at 2:00 AM drunk, from underneath a bush. I’d listen and support him. 

When you don’t care too much, all sorts of good things happen

“You gotta cut that out,” my sponsor told me when he found out. “Tell him to call you back when he’s sober. You’re not helping him by listening to him when he’s drunk.” I argued with my sponsor, explaining that I was helping my sponsee, that I was showing my sponsee that I cared. But you know what? My sponsee didn’t get sober until he fired me and got a new sponsor. His new sponsor didn’t tolerate late-night drunk-dialling. Sure, his new sponsor cared, but his new sponsor didn’t care too much.

Everyone at the meeting cared, but not so much they would burn down the meeting to get their way

When you don’t care too much, all sorts of good things happen. Last Sunday at The Friendly Circle business meeting, we had a motion to make the steps and traditions readings gender-neutral (for example, changing “God as we understood Him” to “God as we understood God”). There was a newcomer there and it was his first business meeting. He was quiet the entire time. He listened as we discussed the pros and cons of the motion, abstained when we voted, heard the minority opinion and then watched as we updated the readings to reflect the group conscience. No drama. Everyone at the meeting cared, but not so much that they would burn down the meeting to get their way.

The newcomer called me the following day and barraged me with questions about AA business meetings. At the end of the phone call, he said, “These decisions are incredibly important. People’s sobriety hangs in the balance.”

I agreed, and added, “Try not to care too much about these things.”

1 04, 2021

Alcoholics Don’t Have Relationships—They Take Hostages

by Claire A

Hostage-taking is a difficult topic for me to write about, because I don’t want to admit to it. The phrase struck me because I remember feeling that my own mother took people hostage, and I remember observing that my mom seemed to be held hostage by her parents and her brother in a family that was 100% alcoholics. Each person propped up the others and sucked them dry at the same time. Everyone but my uncle from that group has keeled over at this point, and my overwhelming feeling is “thank God they’ve found peace at last.”

I wanted my friends to concern themselves with me only

My past behavior has a lot of hostage-taking in it. I would try to “own” friends, I am uncomfortable to admit. I wanted my friends to concern themselves with me, only. I was happiest hanging out with just one person, so that I could be sure to have their undivided attention. I always said to myself that it was because I wasn’t comfortable in groups, and I wasn’t, actually, but the reason is not that I was shy, but that I wanted to control the situation and the friend. I didn’t want the chaos of people relating to each other around me. If you introduce a third person into a conversation, then I couldn’t try to manipulate the person in front of me. I had to be straightforward, honest and authentic, and I couldn’t handle that. I had to stop monopolizing the conversation. I believed that I had nothing to offer in a group situation, so I kept silent, often tuning out completely.

My challenge now is to have friendships without taking hostages. The way to have friends, I had learned, was to be enmeshed with the other person and to be exclusive. I always wanted to know what the other person was thinking, and what they were thinking about me. Never mind that they were probably thinking about something else entirely.

do somebody a good turn and don’t get found out

Of course, I don’t go around thinking in terms of taking hostages. But my instinct is still to own people, if I am honest about it. When a new friend invites someone else to join for coffee, my first feeling is not “Great! Another new friend!” My instinct is to feel that the friend is inviting the other person because I am not enough. It has taken (and is taking) a lot of work for me to remind myself that I have something to contribute, just by virtue of being myself.

The other night I caught myself mentally ranking my friends at a party – categorizing people in my head according to the “level” of my friendship with them. Were they top-shelf friends? How much time should I spend with them? Most importantly, was I better or worse friends than the others around the table were with each other? How exhausting! A party that is intended to be a time of relaxation became fraught with anxiety and comparisons. No wonder I never want to go to parties.

Another side effect is that others—if they are healthy—start to feel smothered. Who wants to spend all their time with one other person exclusively? Being in the program has helped with this issue. 

No wonder I never wanted to go to parties

Being of service to others is a prime way to get out of my own head and my selfish fears. Another thing in the program that helps is that Just for Today card. When I “do somebody a good turn and don’t get found out,” I am able to get beyond the need to hold people hostage. It is hard to humbly and selflessly take hostages.

Taking action fills me out as a person. It’s like they say: if you want self-esteem, do esteemable acts. If I feel like I am not enough, and I need to take hostages in order to have friends, then a way to combat that is to do more, to grab life and live it, to experience things, to help people, to be unafraid to enjoy life. If I stay focused on the challenge of living a fuller life, I can let other people go and live their own lives fully, too.

1 04, 2021

Prose Poem: Trees

by John L

I love trees. In any size, shape or form, be they deciduous or evergreen, conifer or broadleaf, fruit-bearing or ornamental, I love trees. 

I love the play of light through a single tree or an entire forest as sun and wind conspire to cast ever-changing shadows in a heaven-sent kaleidoscope that delights all my senses, inspires my heart and refreshes my soul. Yes, I love trees. 

I love the sound of the wind sighing and soughing through the branches, leaves or needles of a million different trees as it rises and falls like a gigantic land-borne ocean. I love trees. 

I love the sound of a thousand birds singing and chirping, flitting and flapping, cavorting in and amongst the leaves, branches and trunks of every kind and description of tree. I love trees. 

the smell of a pine forest

I love the smell of a pine forest, sharp with the resinous smell that comes from billions of sap-swollen needles, just as I love the dusky perfume of a heavily-laden peach orchard in July and the scent of sage on a warm night’s wind blowing across native oak woodlands baking in California’s summer heat. I love trees.

I love the sharp crack and crunch of dried leaves and tinder under foot and the soft sponginess of pine needle duff so ancient its oldest members are more dust than needle, inches thick under trees that have stood for centuries, the stillness so powerful that even the wildest beast beneath it dares not spoil the quiet. I love trees. 

I love the taste of sun-warmed fruit ripening, just waiting for the perfect moment to fall and disperse its seeds to sprout, take root and live for generations to come. And I especially love the dizzying matrix of a huge orchard laid out in precise rows as I drive by in my car, mesmerizing me with Escher-like geometry. I love trees. 

the taste of sun-warmed fruit ripening

I love the feel of a tree, and yes, I have hugged many a tree. Even the mighty redwood whose wispy, itchy hair manages to insinuate itself into my garments and onto my skin, all the while hiding a bark layer strong enough to withstand all but the most intense fire. Yes, I love trees. 

This realization about trees came upon me the other day when I was confronted by a number of newly-cut redwood stumps dotting a small clearing on the heavily-wooded campus of a college near my home. The tree from whence the stumps were cut had obviously just been felled as the smell of redwood sap and fresh-cut wood hung heavily in the air. I searched in vain for the stump of whatever magnificent behemoth had fallen to earth and been chainsawed into countless thick, brute rounds. 

A certain sadness came over me as I thought about the many years that majestic sentinel had proudly stood among its fellows watching over the sleepy campus below and for centuries before that the movements of indigenous peoples and animals busily going about their business far below. 

How many days and nights had it watched animals and people scurrying to and fro in rain, drought, heat and cold as its branches swept back and forth, propelled by soft breezes, mild zephyrs and the gusty winds of a million different days? 

Now it lay in disarray, its mighty trunk, once a living pump capable of draining a small lake, reduced now to five score of heavy inanimate stumps, each bearing within its rings the tale of its long life. 

once a living pump capable of draining a small lake

For the first time I saw those rings not as scientific, age-revealing oddities, but as the signposts of a life lived in full harmony with the world and its fellows until the demands of men called for its demise. I shed a tear, for I love trees. 

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