Some of my beliefs, thoughts, and feelings I am unable to express as well as others can do for me. Hermann Hesse is one example, particularly on the topic of relationship with trees.
“Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. His best known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi) which explore an individual’s search for spirituality outside society.” —from goodreads Hesse author page
There is a comprehensive review of the book at Hermitary.com. It begins, “Hermann Hesse composed his little book Wanderung: Aufzeichnungen as fiction, but it reads as autobiography, as do most of his little sketches wherein a personable narrator reveals his convoluted emotions. Wandering finds the fictional narrator at a psychological crossroads, and Hesse’s clear, simple, and heartfelt prose makes the book a candid and attractive reflection.”
I can contemplate peace endlessly and never know it as much as when it takes me by surprise.
It’s a beech tree in a wild blueberry patch at the east side of the front yard. The tree and I have a long history, as with everything in the picture. Everything. Long. Deep. Immersive relationship history. Yet on this mid-June morning, they all greeted me as if for the first time. I’ll just share the new part of the history that began at that moment.
I don’t feel that there is anything especially fantastic about what I saw. It was the peace it wrought in me, and I’ll never be able to share that except as a mention, with this souvenir of it.
It was damned silly of me to rush back into the house for the camera. When I got back out there, the light had changed, as rising suns do, and kept changing by the second, and none of it was as beautiful as when I first saw it.
This picture can never be more than a souvenir, especially because it is not a picture of the peace that caught me by surprise when that light and its verdant subjects first poured themselves upon me, into me.
In my essay, Angel Wing; An Illustrated Meditation on Nature Immersion, I mentioned Morris Mountain, with a picture of part of it.
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve heard of Nuala, the non-resident Balsamean. She has been learning watercolor painting. She liked Morris Mountain enough to invest in it. Below is the photo, and her painted rendition, which is framed under glass in my bathroom with two old favorite photos. Thanks again, Nuala.
I’m glad to have another original piece in this little house. I have a massive collection of photos of art in all media throughout the ages on my computer, but very little original art in the house. There are a few nice prints that my parents gave me ages ago. There are some framed photos, all mine except one forest scene from a friend.
The dominant piece is a painting by another watercolor student, Vivian Smithwick, that she framed and gave me as a gift 43 years ago in Portsmouth, Virginia. Still in the same frame. I doubt she’s still painting. If she is, she would have to be well over a hundred years old. She left me better than she found me.
Now I have a second original painting, from the early works of the only person who can ever be a non-resident Balsamean. If she made the picture with crayons and the skill of a three year old, I’d cherish it as much or more. (No offense to three year olds.)
You may think a bathroom is an odd home for a cherished watercolor, but think more. It hangs in the most conspicuous place of all the walls in the house. It is above the primary bath towel bar, across from the toilet, beside the shower. It gets a lot of viewer “hits.” No, bathroom moisture won’t hurt it. It’s sealed under glass.
I’ll insert the picture below as intensive practice for learning not to care what people think of me, for Nuala’s sake:
I am not jaded by all the years of looking at these two other pictures, old photos. They are more than pictures. They are moments, situations, experiences, people.
The new painting is all of that plus relationships with nature and with a person, the longest sustained, continually positive and productive human relationship of any kind I’ve had in my adult life.
I marvel at how little I accomplish in my life, relative to the amazing output of others. Nature writer Mary Holland seems to be a whole team of creative and scientific experts, not just one person. Her website, books, articles and professional photographs encompass a seemingly limitless encyclopedic exploration of nature, presented in short, easy-reading, wonderfully illustrated pieces. She creates educational tools for all ages, especially children. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s spreading knowledge and wisdom in speaking engagements. You can feel her passion for natural history in her work.
(Better disclosure: I benefit nothing but pleasure by promoting the nature writers I follow. I have no investment or business interest except as their customer, I get no freebies or incentives, and I have no family connection with them — that I know of!)
Mary Holland’s qualifications root her as a naturalist with specialization in education, plus leadership in environmental and natural sciences in public and private sector organizations. Did I mention she’s a skilled, accomplished writer and photographer? ==> Please continue reading ==>
Revised July 3, 2019.
The trouble with fire is that it never stands still long enough to be seen. It’s like water falling, or snowflakes drifting down, or dry leaves blown by a gale. But the camera loves to make them stand still.
These pictures were extracted from photos of a tiny fire I built at Kieferhaven (here at Balsamea) on November 4, 2018. It was just a little pile of sticks and scraps of birch bark, something to enjoy for a little while. That little fire has lasted a long, long while.
In her 2008 book, Between Earth and Sky; Our Intimate Connections to Trees, Nalini M. Nadkarni wrote on page 43,
WordPress clobbered the previous post when I tried to add this note to the reblog of Put a Woman in Charge written, illustrated and originally posted by Lisa Brunetti at Zeebra Designs & Destinations~ An Artist’s Eyes Never Rest, online home of an artist, naturalist and writer in Ecuador with a global heart, whose blog I would keep following if I could keep only one, for its beautiful offerings in education (in art and more), entertainment, and inspiration. I wrote more extensively about Lisa in my May 27, 2017 post Nature Writers I Follow #1:Zeebra.
I should know better than use the reblog button instead of just reporting on the piece myself. So just go to Put a Woman in Charge and take the time to read all of it and enjoy the heart and the art of it.
Going through some old folders, I found the original set of 2005 Moose Pond Moon photos in a surprise location. It included a scenery shot that I guess I had written off when the set was put where it belongs under photos/nature/moon. Turns out it was worth keeping.
[This post has only 706 words, chunks of it in music quotes, and a few minutes for one song performance.]
I don’t think it’s exquisite. It just has a way of holding my eye that doesn’t make sense. Maybe there’s something wrong with my eye.
When I remembered the moon in Harry Chapin’s song, Circle, I was glad to have him join the moon song hit parade with this salty-sweet sing-a–long.
I knew someone in the business of making and selling “fine art nature photography.” I never saw anything fine in this artist’s work, but didn’t have the heart to say so.
I mentioned that I use my computer to “tweak” my amateur nature photos to improve what I get out of the camera.
She said, “That’s cheating.”
When she saw some of my earliest moon pix, admiring them she said, “Boy, I thought I was the photographer here.”
I said, “I cheat.”
It’s not a photograph. It’s a wordless expression of me in the way I experience a subject, with the help of a camera and a computer.
Somebody tell Ansel Adams he was cheating when he used an orange filter to shoot his classic, Moon and Half Dome …