Thursday, March 07, 2013

Temporarily dormant

Waiting for spring
London, ON
February 2013
If you're just joining us, please click here
The scene: a bitterly cold, snow-covered playground on a windswept plain beside London's Thames River. We had come to Gibbons Park because our original plan, bowling, had been scotched by a lineup that stretched out the door.

The kids had been asking to come here for ages. Never mind how ridiculous it might have seemed to clamber over frozen play structures that had no business being here in the middle of winter. Never mind my need to stand by the sidelines and slowly freeze my extremities while the munchkins played their hearts out. Just listening to them warmed my soul.

I took as many pictures of them as I dared before a) they told me to quit it and b) my fingers turned blue and required a hasty return to the warm insides of my cushy mittens. And when my fingers warmed up and I was ready to shoot again, I found a stand of youngish trees nestled into the bottom of the nearby hillside that had, up until now, failed to cut the winds down to size. But as I took in the geometry of the branches, I knew the scene deserved to be captured. You don't always need a reason, of course. You just know.

This was a "before" picture. On this afternoon, my wife was in Montreal, spending her days in a hospital waiting room with her dad and sister, helping her mom in any way she could. I was home trying to keep life as normal as possible for our family. And spending a lot of quiet time wondering why life sometimes has to play out as it does.

As soon as I shot this picture, I realized why. It was the background colors that did it for me, muted as they were against the seemingly barren tree branches. On the surface, it looked dead, empty, beyond redemption. But deeper down, those colors suggested a brighter future, when the winds would stop, the sun would return and the temperatures would once again rise. When leaves would grow, seemingly from nothing, and the muted colors in the background would explode with life.

The realization couldn't change the forces that were already reshaping my family's future. But it made me look at the context of things a little bit differently. And if this otherwise unremarkable stand of trees didn't give me hope, it at least made me feel a little warmer on an otherwise bitterly cold afternoon.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

For some reason I see beauty in those dormant trees.. Maybe its the clean straight lines... the brown tones in the background... or maybe its because in Spring, new growth will happen... Seems like there is always a better side to things,eh?

Bernie said...

Like Kalei, I too like the sense of beauty in dormancy... Maybe it is the Horticulturist in me, I don't know (or care), but scenes like this are simply stunning.... What’s more, what appears to be a night shot illuminated by a flash, really highlights the image! (please tell me its a night shot)!

With the pending season shifting to your advantage, 'budswell' would be almost imminent, surely? Whilst here, we are approaching our autumnal colour season, not that it is as vibrant as the Northern Hemisphere friends!! But we still have a late season heatwave to go through over this weekend...

Pat Tillett said...

Hi Carmi!
I think it has to do with the cyclical nature of our world and our lives. The one thing we can always count on, is that things will ALWAYS change. Darkness to light, despair to hope, chill to warmth and so on forever...