Tuesday, December 1, 2009

sunny blue skies light up the oaks

tangled branches seek the light
unfolding in graceful systems of asymmetry
bursting through the giggling wind tossed leaves

sun lights bright blue skies
a few oak trees full of leaves
shift from green
becoming embers, flickering fiery orange, red and gold

I delight in the sight of flashing brilliance
as the cool autumn wind tugs them back and forth,
securely stuck to their branch tips.

I went for a walk today and was overjoyed by the sunshine pouring over the leaves of a few oaks on the edge of Turkey Thicket Park. Keith and I noticed the same trees a couple days ago when we took a similar walk but today they were even more colorful than the last time. I felt so inspired. I walked all the way home and got the camera then back to record the colors before the light changed. The funny thing about autumn leaves, we see them and think "how beautiful these colors are" but leaves are constantly changing as the light moves across the sky and the wind blows hour by hour. With a camera you never really know what you can catch until you try shooting and with a digital camera one is free to make all the mistakes you care to try. Hip hip hurray for 21st century digital technology! Slowly you discover ways to make the camera capture what your mind's eye sees, in addition to what is actually in front of you. Changes the angles and composition enjoy the fun of any experiment since you can only make one mistake. The mistake I think is not taking a the picture. You won't know if you could catch a delight to hold dear in those cold dark weeks ahead unless you try.
I heard the "state" tree of Washington DC is a Scarlet Oak "Quercus coccinea". I don't know if these are that type but the colors fit the name. Naming trees is hard to do and there are a lot of different types of oak tree. I wish we had a couple of these trees planted next to our house but a short walk down the street gave me some exercise and a destination to go visit my favorite Brookland oak trees. The best shape and style of oak are the oldest ones and the grandest ones are like the one across the street which is left to grow in full sun with no obstructions. The Elementary School Oak across the street has almost lost all it's leaves but the shape of the gnarled twisting branches and lumpy stems are one of my favorites. I also like the huge tall oak in our alley mid block but I didn't try to capture a photo of that one today.
I remember from my childhood a single ancient oak tree in the center of a narrow Appalachian valley cow pasture in Pulaski County Virginia where my Aunt Alice lives. It was broad, thick, round and stood all alone in a that pasture just past the gap where we turned to drive up in the valley to her farm. This country dairy we visited to see them using the milking machines and feeding kittens bowls of warm milk. That oak was the shade tree during the hot afternoon to the whole herd of milking cows. Some time in the past it was struck by lighting and burned down to the base so it is no longer there and I can tell you I really felt sad when I learned of it's fate. Trees are great monuments and should be respected and cared for to the best of our ability. I doubt there would be much help for a tree that caught fire from lightening so this was unavoidable. When I see the trees here in the city I know they live on the razor's edge. I am especially impressed by the old ones that stand in the hellish city forests.

1 comment:

Malcom said...

Thank you, sir. This post is by far the loveliest thing I've read all day.