1.1.12

[trees are beautiful, why don't you photograph trees?]

Dick Avery: I do what I do for a living, it has to do with supply and demand. You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees. 
I like trees...

This realization struck me while I was outside reading (my appreciation of trees, of lack thereof, is not typically a matter to which I devote much contemplation): I have become one of those people who like trees.

In the past, trees have always been, quite simply put, trees. They're quite nice at times, but really, what kind of person sits around philosophically meditating on them? When I was twelve and saw Funny Face for the first time I loved Dick Avery's wry comment. Liking, or indeed, loving trees was something best left to those who were reaching to find meaning and pleasure in life. If you can't deal with the complexities of humans and their potential, love trees.

So you can imagine my astonishment when, all these years later, I came to the realization that my view of life, beauty, pleasure, and serenity has become, in this innocuous way, fundamentally changed. I like trees: as ideas, as objects, as a presence. All these years later I have evolved into being exactly what as a child I found odd, laughable, and mildly pitiable.

It was a disconcerting thought at first. I am of the opinion that children often possess a razor sharp insight through the ludicrousness into which adults rationalize themselves. When I notice my opinion shifting I try my best to question both myself and what caused the change. My father says that the word "rationalize" is exactly what it sounds like,  it's coming up with a "a rational lie." I hate the idea that I might methodically lie to myself out of a desire for comfort; the mere thought horrifies me.

But trees, it's rather innocent sounding isn't? I don't feel laughable or pitiable for it. I believe I am far more complex and aware now than I was at the age of twelve, and therefore, hardly in need of "reaching" to find meaning in life. I like people, both in the abstract and in actuality. There is no pantheism or worship of Gaia involved in my newfound appreciation of arbores in et ex silvis.

I simply find trees to be lovely. I could give you a long list of reasons why; they are beautiful, they are serene, they have as much variation as most people, the sound of the wind rushing through their leaves is delightful... but now I do sound silly and really none of those thing are actually part of my rational.

The older I get the more concerned I become with the thought of missing or not properly appreciating things simply because they have always been there. I get so caught up in the future, in quantifiable facts, failures, irritations, complications, and "knowing things" that I forget to stop, look around, and appreciate the exquisite things that are always there. The paintings that have been on the walls since childhood, the colour of the clouds at sunrise...

I feel that as a child I was spoiled with beauty to the point that I could discriminate against that which was every day... but now, it's been so long since I had the time to stop and study a tree, that when I finally find the time to look, I'm staggered by all the beauty I'd forgotten.

I like trees, and I'm alright with that. And I don't think I'm childish for realizing it is alright to love something simple; I think I am growing up.

2 comments:

Claire said...

Actually, I just started reading Humphrey Carpenter's (fabulous) biography of J. R. R. Tolkien, and Tolkien passionately loved trees. So you're in good company.

Hannah said...

I love trees, too. I think they are beautiful.
Thanks for reminding me to see the beauty in the simple things in life.
Also, I love how you write. It is so beautiful and poetic.
God bless!

~Hannah~