02 December 2013
Let me know which you prefer and why.
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“Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there’s been no rain
The pine sings, but there’s no wind.
Who can leap the world’s ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?” Gary Snyder (b. 1930), Riprap and Cold Mountains Poems
“Nature is orderly. That which appears to be chaotic in nature is only a more complex kind of order.” Gary Snyder (b. 1930), poet, essayist, and environmentalist
Nature is quintessential to my existence. She allows my spirit to be itself, and even glide the rim of her immensely powerful story.
The seasons move intensely into my soul. Autumn, which now reigns in my part of the U.S.A., brings bare and almost bucolic views. Everyday scenes become rearranged and redefined within a relatively brief span of time.
Already I feel the lure of hibernation. Along with other animals groundhogs have descended into their wintry underground residences. The horizon is empty of animals, except “my” birds. Since it’s unseasonably cold, they are stacked in queues or fighting to get to the feeders.
Since I spend some part of everyday in reverence with nature, I often ask myself: Is there a place devoid of human intervention? Have I ever walked where no one else has tread? Can I conceive of a life completely immersed in Mother Nature’s bounty? When are we going to fully embrace the global need to attack climate changes and the result of them?
I do as little as possible to intervene with the natural world, even returning much of my property to natural habitats. My gardens are a source of wildlife zipping in and out of my sights. To an extent it comforts me, but not as much as I want. My concerns escalate daily.
In the Lens section are images of Ginkgo leaves, which are apt symbols for the remarkable trials, tribulations and triumphs of Mother Nature. The Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo Biloba or Maidenhair tree; native to China and symbolic in Japan) is unique among living examples of longevity. I found hundreds scattered on my daily walk around the UD campus.
Without hesitation I handpicked dozens and brought them home. Their distinctly eloquent fragility marks their appeal. Each dried with a lovely dainty quality–alluring and subtle.
This ornamental gem is a living fossil, because it’s virtually the same today as it was 200 million years ago. Currently, there are no other species that share its genus, yet in the true sense they are related to all. One Ginkgo tree can celebrate a 2,000-year-old birthday. Now that’s resilience.
It struck me that these unusual shaped leaves have witnessed scores of human decisions that have brought magic to our species and destruction to our planet. The Ginkgo has been privy to it all, and continues to survive (seems a haunting burden). This staying power is a powerful commentary on the will of nature and human nature: the world that has been and the one that is.
One of my favorite periods in art history–Art Nouveau (1880s-World War I)–used Ginkgo leaves to represent the life cycle–organic shapes that strayed from industrialization and fortified nature’s place.
This ancient yet modern tree speaks volumes about nature’s ability to thrive over vast stretches of time and place. For years it’s even salt-and-peppered my city. Its individualism makes for a strange chapter in the earth’s history, but its continued presence is a testament to Mother Nature’s persistence to battle human intervention.
(for additional information about this remarkable tree, see Peter Crane’s book, Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot, Yale University Press, 2013 by clicking here at the Amazon store).
Tip of the Week: Here are two articles that prompted my post. From The New York Times: 1. ‘The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear” by Jim Robbins, 22 November 2013, click here 2. “Climate Crisis: Who Will Act?” by Kofi Annan, 24 November 2013, click here.
Here are other entries for today’s challenge:
As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. Here’s a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black and White
4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).