Treeline: A Story Written in Rings (2018)

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Throughout history, as entire civilizations have withered and mankind has continued to move at a breathless pace, the trees have remained. For some, these trees harbor the secrets to longevity. For others, they provide clear evidence of our journey across lifetimes and the path that awaits us in centuries to come. The elusive wonder of trees is on full display in the meditative documentary titled Treeline: A Story Written in Rings.

Sumptuously photographed, the film travels from the bristlecone forests of Nevada to the cedars of British Columbia to the majestic birch woods of Japan. Along the way, we're introduced to several subjects whose lives are inseparably intertwined with the trees.

A snow surfer and tree skier testify to the majesty of navigating between imposing mountain trees. They find solitude and serenity in these snowcapped environments, and they sense a silent communication between themselves and the ocean of living trees surrounding them.

Many of the trees profiled in the film have existed for thousands of years, and are expected to survive for thousands more. A paleoecologist in Nevada explains how the rings of a bristlecone pine - the longest lived tree species on the planet - can convey thousands of years of climate change history. From these rings, scientists can also determine the extreme conditions under which the trees might perish in the future.

In another segment, a Japanese tree surgeon speaks of her enduring spiritual connection to the trees. She observes them like a doctor to a patient, and feels a sacred duty to nurture their needs so they live for future generations.

A forest ecologist wanders through thousands of red cedars in British Columbia - a "treasure trove of biodiversity" - and speaks of their human-like intelligence. They have attributes that resemble neurotransmitters, and they can learn and evolve much like people. She advocates for greater interest in the many tree species that populate the planet. Through the study of trees, we can learn more about ourselves.

It seems that human kind is more removed and apathetic to the natural world than ever before. Treeline: A Story Written in Rings suggests that the remedy to this dilemma can only be found when we return to our roots.

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