I’ve recently completed a year-long art project in which I photographed the same tree in the
same field from the same angle in each of the
four seasons. The project began, quite by accident, as we were traveling to
Ahoskie last spring, and came across a magnificent tree standing alone in the
middle of a young soybean field. It was so beautiful, standing regally above
the new plants, that I asked my husband to stop so I could get out and take its
portrait. I was so pleased with the result that I decided to capture it in each
of the other seasons, as well. And, so, I did.
In mid-summer, I returned to discover a deep and verdant sea
of green. Emerald clouds floated above the tree’s dark trunk. Not only could I
no longer make out the tree’s individual branches, I could no longer see the
bottom of the ditch, my feet tripping through a jungle of vines and wildflowers
and briars. Snakes? Perhaps. But with camera in hand, I tend to take more risks
than is my usual nature. Summer, with its rich dark soil flooded with life.
Mid-day of the year, with its buzzing, fertile aliveness. Young adulthood, with
its vibrant, boisterous dance.
In autumn, I found bronze leaves clinging tenaciously to the
spreading branches. The freshly harvested field glowed with inner golden light.
Autumn, with its time of harvest and gathering in. Afternoon of the year, reaping
the fruits of the day’s labor. Middle age, with its toil and satisfaction of
work well done.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…”
|"Spring Tree" by KL Wood|
Each time I scrambled across the farm ditch and crouched near the earth to get the right viewpoint, I felt something different and, yet, something the same. It occurs to me, now, that the tree and its field are metaphors for time of year, time of day, and time of life.
In the spring of the year, sprays of tender, pastel green leaves covered the tree’s massive, old branches, and the little soybean plants fanned out in orderly rows around it. Spring, with its rebirth and promise of greatness to come. Morning of the year, with its watercolor sky, moist and softly fragrant. Childhood, with its gentle, joyful laughter.
|"Summer Tree" by KL Wood|
|"Autumn Tree" by KL Wood|
And with our first snowfall, we braved the icy roads so I could capture my tree in that world of white. A great web of bare branches towered above the wind-smoothed snow field. I could
not see where the bank
ended and the ditch began, sinking above my knees into the billowy snowdrift.
At least I was certain no snakes hid in those depths. Winter, with its
snow-muffled quiet, and glistening crystal reflection of the sun. Evening of
the year, with its luminous glow of moonlight and sparkling starlight. Old age,
when the light of the soul shines through the fading of the flesh.
|"Winter Tree" by KL Wood|
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