Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Like Trees. by Patresa Hartman

I like trees.

I like to look at them and touch them and think about how the rings in their trunks tell their years. I like to imagine the roots of them growing highways and back roads through the deep deep deep of the dirt beneath my feet. I like it when the roots stretch out and poke up through the grass as if a scuba diver has snorkeled up for air.

I think trees look like people doing handstands and kartwheels, upside down, shoelaces dangling. Other times, I think trees look like chorus line dancers, raising arms into high vees and kicking, toes pointed. I once had an idea to do a whole series of photographs of people standing next to trees, mimicking their poses. But I decided it would not be obvious to enough people and would require too much explaining. Sometimes, if you explain a thing, it goes away to stand defeated on a shelf with all the other explained things.

I think if trees were people they would do a lot of handstands and kartwheels. They would dance often and explain little. They would speak in riddles and jokes, use their hands a lot and make funny faces to emphasize their points. But they wouldn't get too riled up about having points, so maybe they would just make funny faces for the heck of it. My guess is that trees are pretty content to just be and grow and observe. I do imagine the one in my front yard looks in through the picture window from time to time and wishes I would not take myself quite so seriously.

It wraps its roots around our water and sewage pipes sometimes, sends our water and waste back where it came from -- our basement. Although, it might be making a point about mucking up its underside with our junk, I think really our tree just likes to mess with us. It is there in the front lawn, doing handstands and waving its toes at the birds, and it needles us to crack smiles. It is the ornery grandpa putting rubber spiders in the cookie jar.

But when it is not the giggling prankster, it stretches its leafy arms out wide as wide, creating a canopy of cool, when all the rest of the yard bakes. It is the green and the brown so nicely swathed against the blue of the sky and crisscrossing black telephone wires. It is crooks and knobs solid and staggered for climbers, and it is the loveliest chemical free painting framed within the trimmed window of the front room, committed to pose even when I am not looking.


Angie Ledbetter said...

I love trees too.

Kathryn Magendie said...

This is beautiful. I put my hand on trees sometimes - to see if I can feel their stories. I have photographed many trees and was thinking of having a book of photographs and essays - because the trees tell stories...sometimes by their "poses" and sometimes by me touching them.

lovely. clever.

Terri Tiffany said...

What a beautiful fun description of a tree! I will look at them differently now:))

Barbara Quinn said...

What a fascinating exploration of trees. I'll never think of trees the same way again. Hey, you should do that photographic essay. That's brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Let's hope none of us get to see a tree up close and personal during the next 3 days. Prayers for safety and we will see everyone on the other side.
Oren and family

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