(For a comprehensive look at my scholarly work, see www.aaronmoe.com)
The picture seeks to capture the pulchritudinous architecture of an Ancient Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva). It was taken at sunset at roughly 11,250 feet in the White Mountains of California, August of 2009.
This past summer, Rebecca and I spent a week exploring the trees in California. We began in Sequoia National Park, and then traveled to the White Mountains outside Bishop, CA. I have embedded three slide shows that document the trip and our experience identifying with the trees as well as a host of other life-forms including bear, lizards, rhododendron, weasels, squirrels, etc. The Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) were absolutely mind boggling. To try to put the size in perspective, one of the limbs 200 feet up one of the trees has a diameter of seven feet. It is over 125 feet long–and that is just one branch. Over in the White Mountains, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) are equally as staggering, but not because of sheer volume. Nineteen of these trees are over 4,000 years old and still growing strong, for the cells in their needles and cones show little to no signs of senescence. One is 4,789 years old, which means it began growing a couple hundred years before the pyramids were built.
I don’t think a human can stand in front of either a colossal tree or a tree that is older than the pyramids and not feel humble and meek. The trees help put the drama of human existence in perspective.
If you have a predilection towards trees, and if you have eighteen minutes or so, it may be worth viewing. The pictures are punctuated by a few narratives that provide further exploration of the trees.