Relentless rain for the past few days. I appreciate the rain, but it does interfere with my plans, things I need to keep my soul fresh: Riding my horse, walking the fields and woods, and recently, taking pictures. I’m only just proficient at photography. I learned how to shoot in a high school art class on one of the only thoughtful gifts my mother ever gave me: A Canon TX. More than releasing the shutter and letting in the light, I loved working in the darkroom, agitating the film in a canister, mixing the chemicals to watch them magically produce images on paper. Photography was a class I never cut.
Now, I use my iPhone for taking pictures, and the quality of my photos is much better, which gives me energy to focus on composition. I find it interesting that my training in poetry during graduate school has influenced the way I take pictures. Instead of the broad landscapes of city and countryside, my lens captures the detail of small parts of small objects. I love texture. Today, I reminded myself that I wanted to put some extra thought into my picture-taking for the 365 Project. The more I meditated on this task, the more anxious I became. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, there was a brief break in the rain, the best opportunity for getting some good light for a picture. I kept rushing around, desperate to find a subject. I looked around my house, my yard, my street, and nothing caught my eye.
Finally, I came back inside and sat on my bed. I was still thinking about the limited light and small window of opportunity for the shot. Then I looked out my bedroom window and saw the enormous sugar maple in my back yard. It is at least 130 years old, and the roots run in all directions the length and width of my property, and to great depths. These roots have penetrated the ancient terra-cotta sewer pipes and pop up along the surface of my yard like lifelines in my palm. Several of its largest lower limbs were removed years ago, leaving gaping black holes near its base, and its two main branches that split from the main trunk are wired together in three places, securing the great tree from falling. But in the fall, the leaves are brilliant red-yellow, and in the summer, the sugar maple spreads its enormous green canopy providing shade from the furious southern sun.
Sadly, I’m moving next week, and I can’t take the sugar maple with me. I really haven’t thought about the tree lately; I’ve had my head down, trying to make sure I don’t fall, trying to make sure I stay on course. I think I looked up at the tree today because one very talented friend inspires people to look up, look up, look up to the sky, while today, another equally talented friend wrote about her visual art, “So much of art is waiting for things to dry.” It’s good for me to look up. It’s good for me to let things dry.