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Wednesday, February 01, 2012


e·piph·a·ny  (noun) a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence.
It was that tree. The setting sun made it iridescent against the puffy clouds and deep blue sky. It was late January, but it wasn’t cold. I could hear the panting of the two Rottweilers – Lionel and Mack – as they walked down the country road. I knew the bees were dormant for the winter inside their hives. The horses were quietly standing, nearly motionless, up on the hill. Behind me were the black and branded beef cows, lying down, quietly looking at me. In a matter of weeks they would all be making their way to the slaughter house. The winter silence was disrupted when a flock of wild turkeys suddenly scampered across the field. To my right, the geese raised a ruckus which got the male donkey hee-hawing, and the chickens bustled in their pen.

It was that tree, and that moment as I stood there with my camera, when a feeling of breathlessness came over me. My heart beat fast, and a feeling of unexpected joy washed over me. I have been taking photos since I was nine. I grew as an only child, mostly playing with the ants in the backyard, and when I was nine someone gave me a Brownie. All through my teens I developed my darkroom skills. When I began to work I was able to purchase a 35mm SLR, and my picture taking flourished. I took photos of everything that struck my eye, and not without criticism. After all, taking pictures is a solitary act. In high school, when I should have been in the track team, I was in the school’s darkroom instead. Technology has changed. The darkroom is now a fast CPU, a monitor, a Wacom pad, and Photoshop – terms which would have meant nothing when I was in school. I took pictures, and I never stopped, but I never understood what drove me to this solitary avocation.

It was that tree and all the life around me that hit me in the head and I was truly, and without any clichéd intent, I was unabashedly part of it all. The camera is my connection, no – the camera is my channel to reality. The camera is what synthesizes all that I see, all that I feel …all that I am.  It helps me focus. It makes me truly “see”. I tell stories, and the camera is my tool.

It was only a weekend at our friends’ working farm in upstate New York; a place with no computer, no wireless, no Wi-Fi. I’ve been there before. I’ve even donned bee protectors to help pull the wax-laden honey, but this day it was different. I had been feeling a bit confused about … well, about everything, but this one weekend, this one day, this one sunset, this one moment, that woke me.

It was that tree that made me stop; look up; listen; admire; let it all sink in.

It was that tree that brought me bliss when I least expected it. Thank you, Maple tree. 
Thank you.

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