When a pine tree is allowed to grow with little resistance, in an environment that does not challenge it, the tree will generally grow straight and tall in the shape of a cone. Here we have a pine which is not afforded that luxurious life. Its shape contains twists and turns a areas of deadwood. You can almost hear the story it has to tell. You can almost know its character.
Water is perhaps the most flexible thing on our planet. It easily exists as a solid, liquid or gas, changing form readily in a matter of moments as atmospheric conditions permit. This flexibility allows water to go just about anywhere it wants. Water can do just about anything it wants. Despite water’s flexibility and lack of permanence in form it is one of the strongest things in our world. Stronger than the hardest stone. Water’s strength lies in its patience, reducing mountains to hills and carving valleys in due time.
The contrast between new life and the remnants of what was once alive creates a very intriguing image. These daffodils are emerging among the remnants of tall grasses on a mountain side in Western Maryland in late April. Daffodils, among a few other notable plants, are harbingers of springtime. Their appearance is spectacular as they are both genuinely beautiful and a sight for sore, winter weary eyes. They give us hope for warmer, brighter days.
This image was taken few years ago in Colonial Williamsburg. It is the roof of one of the houses in town covered mostly in healthy green moss with a color splash of warm autumn debris. This image reminds me that nature always wins. It always will and that is a beautiful thing.
Yesterday while browsing through my archives I passed up this image. For some reason I felt compelled to post it today.
The picnic tables are old and showing signs of decay but overall they are still in pretty good shape. The natural elements in the image are not the focus, they are peripheral and background. However, the overall composition to me is what makes it work. Each element works together to convey a calming feeling. The image is restful. I remember taking this shot and thinking how inviting the picnic tables were at that particular moment in time, in that particular space. Shaded from the warm late afternoon sun by wise old sycamore trees. In fact, you may notice that the bench of the second table is no longer level. The roots of a sycamore tree have grown under the bench and over time lifted the bench in a way that says “come, sit with me. Sit here on this bench and relax with me for a moment.”
As you probably know by now one of my many passions is typography. This image was taken a few years ago in Williamsburg, VA. In Colonial Williamsburg they have preserved the town as it was in the 1770’s. If you visit you will see things being done just as they were over 200 years ago.
There is a profound beauty in tools and utensils that are still functional but show years of wear and good use. The metal type being set here is a perfect example. The wear on the letters is apparent especially after their impression is set in ink on paper.
Today’s image was taken last year on one of my periodical trips back to my homeland of West Virginia. This stretch of Appalachian mountains is actually located in western Maryland east of Sideling Hill where a high ridge was cut out to accommodate U.S. Interstate 68. During the excavation the curvature of the underlying strata revealed that the top of the current ridge was at one time, millions of years ago, the valley between two much larger mountain ridges. If you are interested in the geology of it all here is a good page to read.
The Appalachian Mountains are an ancient chain stretching from Newfoundland down the eastern United States to the state of Alabama. The mountains are roughly 480 million years old and once boasted the high altitudes and rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains. Millions of years of erosion have reduced the Appalachians to the rolling hills and valleys of today.
This is the scenery I grew up with and to this day it recharges and renews my sense of wonder and timeless beauty that our world has to offer. In these mountains are the roots of my ever evolving philosophy on existence and my love for the natural world and related pursuits such as bonsai.
Today’s image was actually taken yesterday on my way out to the car to head off to work. It was in between down pours of rain. I passed this sycamore leaf soaking in the parking lot and had to take the shot.
The somber beauty that presents itself during a steady rain is very profound. Rain is a transitional period. Often it is the period of time after a harsh wind or electrical storm, the calm after the storm. It is also the nourishment to the earth prior to the sunny day that comes after. I can’t help but think of it metaphorically as a funeral. It may seem sad for us to have to attend but we must learn to recognize the beauty of the life that was before and the potential of the life that goes on after.