Seasonal change is upon us. The days are already noticeably shorter. Soon the temperatures will become cooler and leaves will burst into fiery hues. It is a spectacular time of year. A last hurrah before entering the cold dark abyss of winter.
Evidence of impermanence. This image was taken from a kayak on Little Seneca Lake in Montgomery County Maryland. I don’t know the exact history of the lake but it is scenery like this that make it evident that this lake is man-made. Damming has raised the water level in this low land turning what once was part of the surrounding forest into deadwood monuments.
This image was taken in Florida a couple years ago. I believe in a park in downtown Orlando. I can’t remember what kind of tree this is but it is ancient. The trunk is about 6 feet wide and the large heavy branches emerge like the waving arms of a giant octopus. They extend upward slightly at the base of the trunk and then level off for a distance before they descend downward where some touch and grow along the ground for a few feet before growing upward again. A truly fascinating tree and I could almost hear the tales it had to tell of its centuries on this green earth.
This photo was taken at the U.S. National Arboretum a couple years ago. It is the top of a column that is placed like sculpture along a pathway. There is beauty in the decaying stone which was originally carved into natural floral shapes by man. Despite the natural theme, the symmetry in the design gives it away as man-made. Since that time nature has perfected this piece in her own way with erosion, offering to us her asymmetrical beauty.
In bonsai we refer the basal flair of a tree’s surface roots as the nebari. This aspect of a bonsai is critical in establishing a feeling of both age and stability in a tree. In fact the nebari is so important in ranks as the first or second most important aspect of a tree’s value. Because I have internalized this aspect of bonsai training I can not help but totice the surface rootage of all trees, whether they are contained in a pot or growing naturally. As I have been browsing my archives for this series It seems that in most of my photography sessions there is at least one image of a tree’s surface rootage.
In this image I love how the moss has grown over the bark and the way the late afternoon sun is playing through the shadows of the surrounding forest and highlighting this tree’s base.
Who doesn’t love an afternoon at the beach… even at the end of December on a cold misty overcast day? Perhaps the answer would be seagulls. The mood of this day was quiet and a bit somber mainly due to the weather. After finding this photo in my camera I realized that such moods are uniquely human. These birds are loving life, picking out edible delights from the rough and tumble surf. There is a time for everything, sunny days as well as gray stormy days. Learn how to take the best from both.
There is a profound, poignant beauty in a man-made structure or sculpture that has been ravaged by the forces of nature, particularly time. I will let you draw your own impressions of this image. Just know that this image truly evokes a feeling of wabi-sabi. The gift to you from the universe are the thoughts and reflections it instils in you. The moment in time pictured here is simply the messenger. Each of us will surely take something unique and personal from a scene like this. The sad thing is the only reason many of us will study this scene is because it has been captured and framed here as a photograph, otherwise any one of us would simply pass it by as “a broken bird bath.” Take time to see the photographs all around you everyday and your gifts from the universe will be many.
This evening’s session browsing my photo archives took me to several images I shot a few years ago at the National Bonsai And Penjing Museum. This is a closeup of a crab apple tree in bloom. At the time this specimen was on display in the courtyard. Not sure if it belongs to Japanese, American or Chinese collection. I simply love the contrast between the age represented by the twisted trunk and rugged bark and the fresh, newness of the blossoms.
I will be promoting the National Bonsai And Penjing Museum over the next several months. For one it is a beautiful place to visit and most definitely a national treasure. Secondly, the National Bonsai Foundation is working hard to raise funds to renovate the Japanese Pavilion which is the oldest section of the museum. The estimated cost of renovation is $2 million. The Foundation has been making great progress in reaching its goal through generous donations but they still need approximately $500,000 more. If you would like to donate please visit there website here.