"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Winter Shapes: Big Trees and Little Grasses

Winter Shapes: Big Trees and Little Grasses

From The Architecture of Trees by Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi:

“We often think of trees as things, as objects. We perhaps see them as providers of shade, but mostly we think of them as things we can use, shape, and force into restricted spaces….

“Trees are victims of their own immobility — they are anchored in place. We forget that they live with us on this planet and that the planet, indeed, was theirs for tens of thousands of years before it was ours. They grab on to the planet… unshakeable and strong and able to regenerate, to begin again from the beginning, leaf after leaf….

“We forget that they breathe every day, leaf by leaf. We forget about their unique and extraordinary ability to draw food and energy from light. We overlook their constant and vital contribution to the life of the planet as they produce oxygen and supply it to other creatures. The fact that trees provide oxygen is such an acknowledged and accepted fact that it loses all meaning. It is an obvious notion — something we learned in school as kids — so we forget it….

“Knowing trees means rediscovering this.”

From “The Serenade” in Poems by William Cullen Bryant:

I saw from this fair region,
   The smile of summer pass,
And myriad frost-stars glitter
    Among the russet grass.

While winter seized the streamlets
   That fled along the ground,
And fast in chains of crystal
   The truant murmurers bound.

I saw that to the forest
   The nightingales had flown,
And every sweet-voiced fountain
   Had hushed its silver tone.


Here’s something a bit different; or at least partially a bit different. We had very few sunny days in January, but I did slink out into the neighborhood on one of them, and in addition to aiming my camera toward the little things I usually photograph, I took these pictures of some of the giant trees that populate the grounds at Oakland Cemetery. With the trees still sporting their winter leaflessness, the views of them and beyond them were quite fantastic. As is often the case with wide-angle-zoom images, it can be difficult to interpret the scale of what is shown; but for comparison, I will say that the cluster of pointy pine trees is thirty to forty feet high.

The two buildings I zoomed in on (in images nine and ten) are about two miles from the grounds, if a straight-flying crow headed in their direction. The silver cylinder on the left is the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, known for its glass facade and its 360-degree view of the city from a restaurant on one of the top floors. The building to its right is 191 Peachtree Tower — an office tower with matching art-deco structures at its top, with an overall design that somewhat mirrors a building it replaced, the Majestic Hotel.

The grassy photos were experimental — or whatever! — because I was aiming 300mm of zooming at a few blades near a fence, from six feet away. The wisps kept moving in the breeze — as wisps do — but I got a few I was satisfied with, and their backgrounds are somewhat pleasant.

Thanks for taking a look!

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