No, this isn’t an eco piece on global warming. Although that does concern me and especially the question of how much warmer does it need to get before the sugar maples recede to the more northern regions. But that is for another conversation.
What this article refers to is the temporary nature of life around us and the permanence of photography.
I had posted this shot on my facebook page for the New England photography guild, for a spring subject about the red maple (Acer Rubrum) that has stood out behind my place for probably the past 75 years. I’ve been photographing it for years and this spring is no different. I photographed a single branch with the buds bursting open in scarlet. (A welcome sign of spring)
Trees all over the area are doing this so it’s not exactly doing something special. Not unless you consider this tree fell down two years ago and it’s still hanging on to life and putting forth leaves.
I have to admit that in general these types of shots don’t sell, they are all about the feeling that I get from being out in nature and sharing them with friends.
On warm autumn afternoons, I love to put my back to the trunk of the tree and I tilt my head back and look up at the sun filtering down to where I was standing. I wished that this tree would be in the yard and not in the forest because laying on the ground in the woods is out of the question.
Too many ticks lurking about unless I lay down a film of deepwoods off. So I stand there looking up at the tapestry overhead of autumn colors. I usually take several shots to add to my collection of fall colors. These will reside on my computer and carry me though the snowy days of winter.
These slices of time that I recorded are happy memories that I revisit, when I have time.
As a photographer I often catch an image that is a moment frozen in time.
We see this in our own photo albums, where you see your kids or grandkids or parents change from year to year. Each photo catches that slice of time and once it is taken and recorded, it never returns. Sometimes you go back to that spot to recapture the spirit of that moment but its gone.
This happened up in Tamworth New Hampshire (off route 16) where Lake Chocorua sits at the foot of Mount Chocorua. It was my first fall in New England where I was exploring on my own. I found by the pond, a maple tree all dressed in scarlet with one small problem, it was laying on it’s side in the water. I photographed this scene until the light fled the sky and I had to drive back home. I came back the next year and the tree was dead with not a leaf to be seen. I again recorded a moment in time
This brings me back to my maple in the woods. We would say life has gone but for the past two springs this maple has put forth the effort to do what it has always done, on at least a few branches have put forth leaves.
The maple now lays across the path into Salem woods. And folks in this area of my neighborhood duck under the massive trunk on their way to walk the trails that lie over the hill. I too, walk these trails but I always pause next to the tree and marvel at its tenacity to keep trying.
Something all of us could take with us.