It was in tourist country, the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area that is not a wilderness anymore because it is severely overrun by tourists. As beautiful as the High Peaks are, they are not worth sharing a few miles of trail with fifty people trashing it and even actually crapping on it.
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.
(continued from Nuala’s Tree and Concordia post)
Nuala’s Tree is a red maple (Acer rubrum) with four partly intertwining trunks rooted at the edge of a big old pine stump. I dedicated the tree to Nuala in 2009 or earlier. The oldest picture I have is from 2009, below.
The brighter background is because of the logging next door. It changes the habitat of Balsamea forever in several ways. I try not to think about it anymore.
Concordia is a park-like area of about 0.3 acre surrounding Nuala’s Tree. Almost all of the development of Concordia occurred in August-September 2019. Before that, there was just some minor maintenance to keep the tree from being overgrown by pines and balsam firs.
I don’t need to give special attention to a tree for it to have personal meaning, nor need I seek personal meaning in a tree. However, sometimes a tree seeks it in me, like a contemplative interaction probing the soul. That’s Nuala’s Tree.
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 …
In 2005, the birth year of Balsamea, my father asked if there were any oak trees on the property. I had not seen them. Over time, I learned that there were many red oaks. They are one of our minority trees, but the mature ones number about one per acre, and there are dozens of seedlings and saplings. We would have many more oaks, were it not for the deer munching on their buds every winter. I have seen them kill a 3-foot healthy oak in two seasons.
On that day in May 2005 when I closed on the property purchase, I immediately installed a cable gate across the entrance. Dumpers had abused the property, a practice that ended that day, and became a considerable process of remediation for me. Still I find things resurfacing from below ground.
While opening space for access to the right trees to attach the cable, I noticed two little red oaks about two feet tall each. One was in excellent condition. The other was crushed under a fallen gray birch. I left the latter alone to grow in its own way, and it has done well. The former, I nursed and lightly pruned over the years, to encourage a nice geometric shape.
These little Balsameans (and Adirondack natives) have gathered here for no reason but to please The Balsamean. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, too. This is one case where clicking a picture will NOT get you a bigger view. They are just sample 100-pixel views of SOME of the kinds of spring and summer living entertainment here. (However, you can magnify with your browser or Windows features.) These pix were clipped out of bigger ones that are even more beautiful, shot over the past several years, mostly within the past few years. This show must go on, and it will. These little Balsameans will perform for as long as we let them and protect them. The display sequence is random, and will change every time you refresh the page or come back for another visit. There are about 130 of them. (All photos by yours truly at Balsamea.)
End of show
Despite the sobering remembrances of another 9/11, I’ve declared 9/11/12 a holiday at Balsamea, in honor of our first frost coming four days earlier than the average (9/15) AND it was not merely FROST, but ICE! I had a zillion tiny puddles of ICE on the roof of the car at 7 AM (in the shade). Solid enough that I could not move them without considerable force.
Every year I look forward to First Frost day as the launch of my favorite time of year: from now to the end of December, and often all the way to February.
So despite all the effort going into multiple drafts of deeper posts pending here and elsewhere, among a thousand other things life wants me to do for myself, I had to drop everything and say YAY FOR FIRST FROST DAY!!!
One of the ways I celebrated was with a little campfire until 8 AM. One of life’s greatest gifts is the pleasure of feeding a little fire on a chilly morning as the sun reaches the point where it sends rays zapping at hard angles through the trees, catching your campfire smoke in dazzling arrays. Didn’t have the camera with me this morning, but there’s one from another time if I can find it.