Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Trees provide a rudimentary lesson in enchantment: We need not cling anxiously to our own subjectivity, will, and desire; instead we can place trust in the beings around us who demonstrate many alternative ways to be a contributing, outstanding individual. A tree tells us what gives it pleasure, and it is so good at offering us benefits beyond measure that we have no reason not to surrender ourselves to it. We can sit on a tree's limb, rest against its trunk, enjoy its fruits and nuts, sit under its shade, and watch it dance in the wind. The lessons we can learn from a tree are infinite, and its pleasures indescribable. There are moments in anyone's life when to be a tree-tall, straight, fertile, rooted, branching, expressive, and solid-would be the most effective therapy"...Thomas Moore, The Enchantment of Everyday Life.

I just got from a five day road trip in the White Mountains and the Eastern Sierras photographing the Giant Sequoias and the ancient Bristlecone trees. The Bristecone trees are the oldest trees in the world and the Sequoias the biggest.
I would have stayed two days longer but I injured my back. Nothing serious, just tweaked it while mountain bike riding and hiking...I have got to start acting my age...I mentioned the Bristlecone trees in my last blog entry. They are an amazing tree which can only be found in the moon like desolate landscape of the White Mountains which lie due east of the High Sierras. I had never been in the White Mountains before because of the remote location and inaccessibility. I had to travel 13 miles of dirt road just to reach the Patriarch grove which is located near twelve thousand feet. The Bristlecone tree lives only at an altitude between 10 and 12 thousand feet which helps to explain their stunted twisted shape. The Bristlecone trees can live up to over four thousand years which is truly amazing considering the extreme harsh climate and the lack of moisture that exists in the White Mountains. I only spent one day here because of the harsh climate and terrain...but...was able to take over 50 pictures of one of the rarest trees in the world.

I spent the next three days at Mammoth Mountain ski resort hiking and biking before I stumbled into Sequoia National Park. I say stumbled because my back was killing me by the time I reached Sequoia National Park. I also spent only one day in Sequoia National Park but was able to hobble up and down a few trails and get a few pics of the biggest trees in the world. The giant Sequoias are the cousins of the coast redwoods which are the tallest trees in the world. Both species of trees are both tall and big but the Sequoias are bigger around and have a distinct bright red bark. I took a few pictures but it is extremely difficult to photograph these giants because they are just too big to fit in the one picture.... most of the time.

I have been interested in photographing trees for a couple of years now. They come in so many difficult sizes and shapes which are a dream for a photographer...but...I am also interested in trees for their spiritual and enchanting qualities which are alluded and implied to in the quote by Moore. For some time now I have tried to root my spiritual values and outlook, "in this world", and consider trees an important potential spiritual aspect of our day to day experience because of their unique qualities and their availability. Oftentimes, I think we take for granted the things God has put in our daily lives, and for me, trees have become an important aspect of my own spiritual experience which nurtures my soul.

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