Milky Way from Ancient Times. The bristlecone pines in the Bristlecone Pine Forest are some of the oldest living things on earth. In a non-colony lifeform, this is about as old as it gets. But that length of time is a speck compared to the Milky Way and the universe. These bristlecone pine trees reach their branches up to the true masters of time. The Milky Way and beyond, the true masters of deep space and time.

This night was a wild night, lightning, Mammatus clouds, weird cloud formations and then finally the sky cleared a bit late in the evening. I had been writing in the back of Jimmy, working on an article at 12,000 feet, laying in the back with the hatch up. The pine scent had been strong as the storm blew through, lightning lighting the dusk, wind gusting, rain coming in sheets with pea sized hail. It made for a very creative mood, and the writing went well. I wrote till just after sundown and the lightning and rain finally abated.

I got out and went to my marked locations and gathered the foregrounds for the scenes and waited for the skies to clear. At last, they did, and I was able to grab them, then more the next night when the grove was invaded by other astronuts with what appeared to be searchlights light painting the entirety of the grove. It’s a sad thing. We astronuts of the world curse the encroachment of light pollution and then proceed to light areas making other people have to suffer through the process. Please people, wear a headlamp with a low brightness and a red shield. I this night wore a brighter one and may have interfered with a time lapse by a master timelapse artist. For that I am sorry.

Read more about the area:

The trees of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains an hour’s drive to the east of Bishop are the oldest recorded living thing on earth. A millennium older than the Giant Sequoia trees in the nearby Sierra, many are well over 2,000 years old and the “Methuselah” tree in Schulman Grove is dated at more than 4,773 years old. These trees were young and growing at the time stone axes were being used in Europe, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) was being built, and cuneiform clay tablets were being used in northern Syria. Bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva & aristata) grow in the White Mountains at elevations 9,000 to over 11,000 feet. The oldest trees grow on outcrops of dolomite, an alkaline calcareous, low nutrient soil. Only on the alkaline dolomite will you find pure, relatively dense stands of Bristlecone pine.

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