Few things cause me to ponder time and life more than ancient bristlecone pines. At 5,000 years, they are the earth’s oldest living things. They thrive despite battling some of the harshest living conditions on earth. Battered by fierce winter gales and growing in thin rocky soil on exposed ridge tops, they become more beautiful with age. This ancient is on a windswept ridge at 11,000 feet in California’s White Mountains.