Saturday, November 7, 2009

About the Trees


Often as creative types we hesitate to talk about the process. Or how it feels to be in “the zone.” I think it’s because others find it difficult to understand and we end up sounding like lunatics. However it is much easier once you title yourself an artist because it gives others permission to just shrug their shoulders and mutter, “artists...” One of my favorite authors wrote a wonderful book when he was in his 70’s that was rejected several times. One of the publishing firms wrote in their rejection letter, “Dear Mr. McLean, Your book is all about trees and no one wants to read about trees.” Well someone thought otherwise as “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McLean was not only published but also became a hit movie. How I love to write about the trees.


I found an old Ansel Adams day planner yesterday. I had kept it since 1997 because of the many dramatic black and white photographs of trees. But while I was leafing through the book I noticed there was a forward inside the cover that Ansel had written from an undated fragment. I’d like to share it with you:


“...I was climbing the long ridge west of Mount Clark. It was one of those mornings when the sunlight is burnished with a keen wind and long feathers of cloud move in a lofty sky. THe silver light turned every blade of grass and every particle of sand into a luminous metallic splendor; there was nothing, however small, that did not clash in the bright wind, that did not send arrows of light through the glassy air. I was suddenly arrested in the long crunching path up the ridge by an exceedingly pointed awareness of light. The moment I paused, the full impact of the mood was upon me; I saw more clearly than I have ever seen before or since the minute detail of the grasses, the clusters of sand shifting in the wind, the small flotsam of the forest, the motion of the high clouds steaming above the paks. There are no words to convey the moods of these moments.”


I especially appreciate his reference to seeing like never before. It gives me confidence that I’m on the right track. That when your mind and heart are calm and centered your creative energy becomes focused and all the details are there if you have the courage to see them, trust them. And often it happens when you are out walking and doing other things. Of course Mr. Adams was out there, he knew what it gave back to him. And it wasn’t just about the perfect photograph. Java! 

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