Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf. ‑-Albert Schweitzer
“Go outside and find something to do.” This was the mantra of my mother for as long as I can remember. And, so, we did. We climbed trees, hiked in the woods, made up games using trails of leaves. For years, we camped in the forests up and down the East Coast. Our lives were filled with all sorts of outdoor adventures.
It’s no wonder that I have an affinity for trees. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I am drawn to them in my photography or that I connect with them on a poetic and metaphoric level.
When I was younger, I wrote poetry under the shade of many trees in many seasons. Now, instead of words on paper, I see the poetry within the forest and the trees. The stories their life rings could tell are likely nothing short of amazing. I imagine the stories told and written beneath their branches, the storms survived and the seasons shared.
The trees are survivors, rooted and grounded to the earth and all its miracles. In their life and death, the trees are safe havens, providers of food and life. In their span of years, long or short, they offer opportunities for renewal and rebirth. Trials by fire, wind and rain are withstood in ways similar to our own.
Their character is revealed in the curves and lines of their branches and limbs. In the bulk and bend of their bones the years on this earth are revealed.
There are those that bend and those that break and snap. If I could be a tree, I might wish to be a blend of oak and willow – strong, beautiful, protective, graceful, flowing, tolerant and flexible.
It is in the trees that I see a magical dance of swaying and rustling leaves and limbs, wafting scents of flowering buds, the sight and sounds of birds and bees and butterflies wafting through pollen showers of spring and finding a landing zone on the bare branches of winter. There is the dance of flying, falling showers of gold and red and orange that covers the forest floor with an amber blanket. In every season there is a new dance, never to be repeated … ever.
It is in the trees that I see solitude and strength, mystery and beauty along with the wondrous gathering of tree next to tree next to tree and so on to blanket the land with community and a place to commune with the natural wonders of the earth. It is in the trees that I see life, each one unique, each one with its own struggles and triumphs.
In each one that draws and holds my attention, I see hope and beauty from seed to sprout to mature trees and snags through to the rotting, fallen logs. In each there is a home to new and different life.
It is that lifetime of experience from early years in the forests and among the trees that has shaped my interests and direction in the journey of photographer/artist. From their roots and trunks to leaves and branches . . . I see them. And I see me.