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Tree 3Well, you have finally found me (out), here in my home in California’s Inyo National Forest. My name is Methuselah. I am reportedly the world’s oldest tree, a bristle cone pine. I’m a little foggy on birth dates and such, but I believe I am now approximately 4,847 years old! You’d probably be a little foggy too if you were as old as I am. But, hey, I’m not complaining. After all . . . I’m still standing.

By the way, no cameras please. Not even the ones built into your smartphones. The U.S. Forest Service doesn’t want my exact location revealed, or even the release of any photos. They’re worried about terrorists, or at least those who may want to carve their initials in my bark. I know that can be charming, even romantic. Some might even say it can add character, like a scar or two on an old leather chair or briefcase. But, c’mon, how’d you like it if someone did that to you?

You might wonder how I’ve managed to stick around all these years. Well, first of all, my bark, which is worse than my bite, and also tougher than my bite, and my pine needles as well, combine to protect me from harsh weather, both from freezing cold and from excessive heat. They keep me at just the right temperature. And those pine needles also save up rainfall to be sure that I don’t ever get dehydrated. You might say that nature is taking care of me. And, given my age, it seems to be working.

And, by the way, I don’t just stand around with nothing to do. I actually keep pretty busy. I love music. How about you? The wind is my music. I listen to it every chance I get. But maybe not that heavy metal stuff.

My branches and trunk allow me to cuddle and shelter all kinds of birds and squirrels and insects. Even a kid or two now and then. You remember the story about the Giving Tree, don’t you? So, I’ve always got plenty of company. I like that because they all fill me in on what’s going on in the world. You know, important world events. Stuff like that. Without my friends visiting, it’s kind of hard here in the forest to stay current. Or to mingle.

And I have do have feelings too. (What? Did you think I’m just a potted plant? Like my cousin? Hey, I’m not even potted.) When I hear about something that’s sad, my sap becomes my tears. with our 2016 Presidential election campaign, it seems like my sap has been running on high. Honestly, I think some of us trees could do a better job running our country. But let’s not get me started on that. It’s just too upsetting. I’ll get all . . . sappy.

So, whenever you’re in the neighborhood, please be sure to stop by and visit. We can stand around for awhile. Just don’t tell the U.S. Forest Service.

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