Dean M. Chriss
Lifecycles, Bryce Canyon, December 25, 1979
(Click image to enlarge)
The passage of time has an inexorable effect on all things. The contrast between the two trees in this image shows it graphically. Time's effect in our own lives is not often so obvious. Rediscovering this image in my files twenty-four years after I took it was a stark reminder for me. As a friend who was with me when I took the photograph says, "Boy, a lot has gone by since that trip". I guess that says it all.
Shown in the photograph are two limber pines – one young and vibrant, one old and long dead. These very slow-growing trees live near the timberline, at elevations between 5000 and 12,000 feet. They are dependent on Pinyon Jays and Clark's Nutcrackers for survival. True to their name, limber pines are very limber. Their branches can bend double without breaking. This offers a tremendous advantage in areas with high wind and heavy snow. The scientific name of this tree is