Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

I periodically review images that I have taken because it seems that aside from wondering why I took a particular shot, sometimes I begin to see different things in the images than I remember. Also, sometimes I remember important aspects about what we were doing.

This image, for instance, was a shot in early autumn as Chris and I were walking off the Monticello grounds in the woods back to the visitor center. While it might be considered a throw-away image by many, I remember the day well and why I took the picture of the tree just beginning to be robed in the colors of autumn.

The sun was highlighting the just turning leaves in a bright kind of way. And while the day was warm, it was not hot--like summer in Virginia can be. It was a lovely walk down the mountain to the visitor center in the cool shade of the trees.

I remember the smells of the forest and the rustle of the leaves. And the quiet---because it was quiet. But the smells reminded me of my childhood.

Chris and I talked all the way down the mountain--and commented on how much walking that day reminded us of how we grew up--running around out in the forests of central NY under the canopy of sugar maple trees. Climbing trees and building tree forts. I always thought that the trees were my friends. In fact, I actually mourned the loss of one tree which died while I was growing up--an over 100 foot tall elm tree that stood proudly outside my bedroom succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease when I was a tween. I still remember the school bus drivers asking me where they needed to stop and I would proudly say: "just past the tallest tree you can see." Once that tree was gone--everything seemed so ordinary.

There was another other tree I loved--an old, majestic sugar maple which proudly stood over the backyard of our house and shaded our activities. I had a small dirt pile at its base where I played with my trucks and earth moving equipment. I also fought many WW2 battles there with my green and gray plastic army men and equipment. That tree had a trunk over six feet thick. That tree protected us from storms and provided shade the entire time I grew up. I heard that it has died and been cut down--but my memory of it still remains. And it was magnificent during the autumn!

So I guess that when I see trees, I look at them as friends. We are surrounded in our current house by tulip poplars, honey locust, and black walnut trees that tower over us. During the summer, I love to look into their canopies as see the fire flies shimmering in the night sky. During the winter I look at their bare branches and remember the green leaves of the summers I love so much.

And so this image says to me--in an old familiar way, "hey there, I know your cousins."

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