Category Archives: Trees

Being here

for tjl (1 of 1)

Katonah, New York

The trees are silent, frozen in place by last night’s winter. Sunrise creeps—truly, for so much slower does it rise than it sets—over a nearby hill. It bathes them in pseudo-warmth and they bask in it. They bend their limbs, their trunks, their stony wills to this commanding, golden goddess. It feels as if they have done this now, right before my very eyes; woken up and leaned in to this intensely beautiful morning.

Surely they were independent before: last night when their unwitting limbs wallpapered my closed eyelids, yesterday, when snow drizzled through them from a blue-white sky onto my wool coat, and later—when the new year swept me off to Manhattan to bask in my own sunshine: friends old and new, and they stood, stock still, waiting for no one—as if their naked branches lacked for nothing, not even to be clothed by their absent leaves. But now, as I study their curved, tilting trunks, their sun-dappled sway, I realize my error; everything—every one—needs something.

A tiny zephyr picks up the bottom of a single, dry-lingering leaf (One that has forgotten to fly south for the winter?) on a skinny, low-hanging branch. It was only seconds ago that the leaf was fluttering…yet it is unbelievably silent, as if the tree has shushed it; warned it not to make a fuss, not to beckon attention. It is so absent of motion now that I question whether it moved at all. I scan naked tendril after naked tendril for these holdouts. I wonder why they’ve stayed put and I didn’t.

Here I am in Katonah—twenty-eight hundred miles from home—scrunching up my eyes to determine whether what I am looking at now is a small patch of dirty snow or a gray rock plopped in the middle of the icy, brown-green grass at the base of the trees. But this isn’t what I’m wondering, not if I’m honest. I’m asking the question my husband is asking as he sits, without me, in California: Why did she go, he asks. Why am I here, I echo.

The answer hits me as if I am nineteen, as if answers have only started coming, as if I’ve never had answers before—or never asked the right questions. I am here because it is what I need. I am here, snatching at—clawing at is more accurate (yet in a somewhat dignified way, for I am blessed, not only by these stunning surroundings, but also by dazzling intellect and aesthetic perfection)—for some tiny, tentative, unexcavated, frozen piece of me.

I am refusing, with stubborn, unsentimental rights to myself, to fit snugly into my newly stable life. I am leaning, like these stalwart trees, toward this morning’s light: a sun salutation that breaks open my heart, reminds me that sometimes what we need demands no explanation.

Why am I here? Because, like these enchanting trees, I am.

The Knitted Tree

Leaving Main Beach in Laguna (Laguna Beach, California), I spotted this knitted tree. Having heard and read about random yarnstorms (also called yarn bombing, urban knitting, guerilla knitting, and knit graffiti) in big cities across the globe, I was familiar with the phenomenon, which Knitthecity (London) defines as “the art of enhancing a public place or object with graffiti knitting,” but I was not prepared for the kapow of energy and unexpected intimacy I felt with the tree and its then-unknown artist. Putting down my beach gear, and hollering to friends and family that I would catch up with them in a bit, I grabbed my camera and began shooting. As I became more familiar with the wrapped branches, I fell into silent revery, the colors beckoning me to come closer, to explore.

If you click to enlarge the gallery below, you will be privy to some of the whimsical and soulful details knitted into the wraps.


As I explored further, I discovered a small plastic bag with something inside. Being careful not to tug too hard, I extracted the note, which contained words no longer legible, as rain or morning mist must have seeped inside the bag long enough to blur everything into a blue smudge. But I could read a name, or at least part of one: M i c h, and silently thanked Michelle (or Micha, Michael, or Michaella) for touching my heart at the end of a day in which I had vowed, just a few hours before, to remember to notice, to breathe deeply, and to appreciate life and it’s inhabitants even more fully than I had been doing.

A day or so later, I suggested to two sets of visiting friends that they should stop by “The Knitted Tree,” having an unidentified urgency in my gut, an unbridled desire to share the magical branches with others who appreciate random acts of beauty. Little did I know (Or did I?) that my next visit to Laguna Beach would have me standing before the same tree, only this time in its naked form. I should have felt sad at the absence, and I was surprised that the emotion I experienced instead was a fresh and unexpected kind of reverence, the kind that comes from knowing that I had serendipitously witnessed a fleeting gift, that I had received a message of hope that spoke to me regarding life’s unending challenges: There will always be something beautiful and unexpected around, literally, a random corner…and sometimes that redeeming or soothing or mind-blowing something will have been placed there by the hands and heart of someone who wanted to make me smile and celebrate my miraculous life.

Thank you Michelle Boyd and Twisted Stitchers for your Beach-umbrella-themed project, for receiving permission from the Laguna Beach Arts Commission to install your beautiful work from July 1-July 31, 2012. On July 25th, 2012, I was deeply moved by your gift. Thank you.

Thoughts and photographs are the creation and property of Britton Minor and The Jaded Lens Photography/Writing

Sun god

My pulse rises as I pull into a spot at the curb, grab my camera, and scan the park for a place to capture the bursting sky. Another photographer and his lady offer me a prime bench seat. I sit down gratefully and begin to shoot, wondering if a Canonite would have been so generous with the real estate. I’ve heard about the rivalry between those who, like me, shoot with a Nikon, and those who prefer Canon–but have never experienced it.

I decide to play with exposure compensation, dialing it down in an attempt to capture the way the vibrant oranges are manipulating the grayish blue sea; casting shadows on the sailboats, whose skippers must surely be preparing to sacrifice their lives for the mere chance to party with the irresistible sun god.

A wave of peaceful satisfaction washes over me. Behind the lens, with an abundance of manual settings literally at my fingertips, I am participating in the way creativity mingles with reality, enjoying the unchoreographed dance of a spontaneous life.

 

 

 

Photograph is property of the author/photographer, Britton Minor

Hiding

I love how certain photographs elicit unexpected emotions, thoughts, daydreams. I have always enjoyed photographic art, but I am only recently learning how to become a photographer. Now I am struck not only by the results of being behind a lens, but also and particularly by how powerful it is to be doing so. Bending low to the ground wasn’t enough for me the day I took this shot, it required me being on my belly.  I got into position and began shooting, oblivious to any dirt getting on my shirt, or how silly it might have looked for a 46-year old woman to be lying on the ground in a public place with her camera, shooting what probably appeared to be an ordinary expanse of green grass. In an instant, my camera unwittingly transported me out of the realm of caring about what someone else (might have) thought, and into a surreal place of great beauty and peace. For this, I am grateful.