Tuesday 14 September 2021

quieted, housed (oak time)

Over the past three years or so, I have photographed this oak tree many times from the same position, tracking its changes and the shifts in the weather. It's on a regular cycling and walking route; and pretty much every time I pass, I look at it and take a picture. There are dozens of them now. An archive of tree(s). 
I think of it as 'my' oak, although of course it isn't. Somehow it has acquired a particular place in my affections - a moving still point, always there. An enduring continuity. A kind of axis mundi. When someone close has passed away, I have placed some rose petals from the garden (dried or fresh, depending on the season) in a little hollow at the base of its trunk ...
Beginning last October, this chronological sequence records something of the past year in the life of the oak, autumn to the end of summer, with one image for each month. Twelve trees, the same tree. 
‘Occasionally, in a moment of peaked emotion ... we will truly see something, a tree, an animal, a neighbourhood, a loved one, in their idiosyncratic actuality, as we suspect they truly are, and we are overwhelmed, while quieted, housed, by the detail of their being. Before this moment of recognition, they existed, of course, but now they stand out with an aching clarity, which seems at once identity and a notion of our relationship to it' ... Tim Lilburn, The Larger Conversation: Contemplation and Place, 2017

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