Made in the shade.

October 9 (1 of 1)

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Time to get dressed.

March 20 (1 of 1)

My calendar tells me that spring officially arrives today, which means that it (hopefully) won’t be long before this giant wakes from winter slumber to sheathe itself in fresh green foliage.

I drive past this tree regularly. The sight of it is so expected, so familiar, that I’ve come to think of it as “my” tree. In my mind, it has developed a bit of a personality. On wet, overcast days, I think it looks lonely and sad. On summer evenings, it glows in the golden light and I could swear it stands prouder, fuller, taller. Right now, it’s stiff and stubborn and cranky, and the cold has seeped into its branches, making them ache.

It’s funny how we project our own moods and attitudes onto the world around us.

I wonder how long my tree has been standing there – weathering the seasons, sleeping and waking, watching the landscape change and the people come and go. What stories could trees tell if they could speak (and if we knew how to listen)?

The other evening as I was driving by, the sun was low and the light warm, so I finally stopped the car and made a picture. This tree looms large in a field of grasses, but it’s hard to tell from this photo. Next time, I’ll try a wider angle or pay more attention to the sense of scale.

But I’ll wait ’til my tree has gotten dressed for the season (it thinks it looks better in green).

Seeing green.

March 17 (1 of 1)

It’s not clover, but it’s the greenest thing I could provide.

I discovered that squinting while looking at the photo helps to make it look like clover, though. It will probably look even more like clover if you enjoy a couple of festive green beers before you start squinting.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Apricot scrubs and chemical peels not required.

This tree – I think it may be a yellow birch – knows what it’s doing.

It’s exfoliating.

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A bit of reading (herehere and here) suggests that it’s not completely certain why the bark naturally peels from some trees. It may be a mechanism to protect from a build-up of parasites and other pests, or it may be that the dead outer bark must split and peel away to allow the tree to grow. Maybe both, or neither, depending on the species.

In all likelihood, it sheds for a practical reason, whether or not that reason is clear to us. This casting-off and renewal is necessary, ongoing, and messy, and is just as much a part of the tree’s being as is the shape of its leaves or the taste of its sap.

And the tree is beautiful, not despite this unkempt-looking evidence of its existence, but because of it.

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Maybe it could teach us a thing or two.

 

P.S.
Close-ups of bark are naturals for Narami’s Tuesdays of Texture.

Carved out.

Today I did something I wouldn’t normally do.

I went to the beach.

In the winter.

I like beaches. A lot. But I don’t really like winter. In my mind, the two just don’t go together. The beach is for hot weather. Warm breezes and sun and sweat. Winter is for… well, I don’t know what winter’s for. I will find any excuse not to leave the house between November and March.

Today, inexplicably – maybe just out of gratitude that I’m finally bidding adieu to my nasty cold – I willingly spent a couple of hours outside, beside a large body of water, while the temperature hovered at -15 degrees with the windchill (yes, I know, besides being an act of insanity for someone like me, this also seems like a recipe for getting sick all over again. I’ll definitely get a finger-wag from my Mom).

The beach, even this small one, has a totally different vibe in the winter – windswept and deserted, vast and lonely. The light is pale and weak. The icy crust on the sand and crackles beneath your feet. The trees are stark and bare, the snack bars are clammed up, the swings on the playground creak in the wind.

I grabbed a couple of nice shots near the water, which I’ll share tomorrow. My surprise gift, carved into a tree stump, was discovered while walking a paved trail along the water:

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And when I looked up, there was another one:

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I followed the path from one carving to another.

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By this time my hands and nose were frozen, so I made my way back home, pleased to have stumbled upon unexpected tree stump art and also pretty proud of myself for willingly going outdoors in February.

Once there, Google led me to this article and this article, where I learned that these carvings are the work of Bill Le Blanc, a retired steelworker, who discovered his talent seemingly by accident.

Maybe all of us have a gift, just waiting to be revealed, in the right space and at the right time.

Thanks, as always, for visiting.

A light in the dark.

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The sun’s been hiding behind moody grey clouds for a week, so the subjects of my photos have mostly been miscellaneous items located inside my home, where it’s reasonably warm and dry and I can exist comfortably without wearing boots and earmuffs.

Since the festive decorations made their way out of storage over the weekend, and since I’m avoiding the outdoors like the plague, I’ve been studying these trinkets with a new eye.

One of the knick-knacks lying around is a miniature artificial Christmas tree adorned with tiny glowing fiber optic strands, which flash in one second intervals. It’s actually not all that difficult to get hypnotized by this thing if it’s late and I’m tired (check and check).

I killed all the other lights, used a slow shutter speed, and stabilized the camera with my tripod. At first, I tried to get the whole tree in the shot, which was, well… meh. I crept in tighter which, I think, resulted in a more interesting picture.

If the sun’s out tomorrow and time allows, I’ll don the boots and earmuffs and see what I can capture outside. If not, at least there’s a trove of shiny holiday things that won’t mind posing for the camera.