In certain parts of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, you'd think you were walking through a grove of dead trees.
Sure, some of the branches are dead.
But they're often attached to trees that are very much alive, and growing, and reproducing, and thriving in the harshest of conditions.
Although they can live for thousands of years, some trees must eventually die. And it's only then that we can truly know how long they were with us.
Even dead, the wood is sturdy—and fearsome. This dead wood looks as though it drifted ashore right out of the ocean.
But in actuality, the ocean drifted away from where the wood would eventually grow.
Nature—or science, or genetics, or fate and destiny—has twisted the wood into distorted patterns, rippling like the waves of the sea.
And yet they still manage to rise from the former ocean floor, climbing their way up to the tops of mountains, growing in soil that's more limestone than it is dirt.
Somewhere along those ripples, we can trace the course of its life.
Somewhere in the rings, there are scars we can't see.
We can only see the winds and the tides of time that have left their mark on the timber bones, strewn throughout the skeletal wreckage in an arboreal graveyard.
Photo Essay: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest