“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Friday, November 19, 2010

Why I Walk


Yesterday I took a walk. They tell us that a storm will move in from the north and we will get cold rain all weekend. So I wanted to go for a walk before the rain.
We only have two flat places on our property: One is where the house and surrounding areas are and the other is a knoll up the road where we have a small orchard, the septic mound and where Maggie is buried.
The rest is lots of up and down, steep ravines and old mining roads that follow the easiest routes to the places that use to be occupied by tents and folks looking for gold. You can find a few old shacks. mine shafts, rusty pieces of equipment and stone foundations, if you look hard enough, hiding beneath old dead oak trees and grass but mostly there's the beauty of untouched land that gives me courage to walk by myself on our property and our neighbor's land above us. I never run into anyone on my hikes. It is a place empty of people.
I love these walks. Time to think and look for the true inhabitants of these foothills who usually disappear into what Mary Oliver calls the "impossible trees" when I'm there. I know they watch me from a safe distance.... The crazy, noisy human who smells dangerous and carries a black contraption around her neck that makes a click. How would they know it's not a rifle or a gun. It's best that they hide. Others are not shooting with a camera. Others, as I hear a shot in the distance, would aim and fire death.
So I travel over to the other flat area on our property....
past the burn barrels and the Minnesota mound ( our very expensive septic system that was required before we could build a house here.).....
and the Fox den.....

and down into the grove of Manzanita that feeds my soul. The twisted trunks of red. The sinuous serpent branches of this beautiful tree always gives me a feeling that I'm not alone at all, just a different DNA, a structure of a different sort that has more mobility. I feel like Dorothy in the apple orchard waiting for the trees to come to life and being surprised when they start talking to me..... reprimand me for taking some of their bark and capturing their souls in my little black box that clicks.
"Excuse me, but you dropped these on the ground and I only want a few. Please don't be angry. I will leave you a gift in exchange......"
"It's a strange expression that , in human language, represents greeting and well-wishing. A word that says... hello you lovely trees, bushes and leaf covered ground. I have been here today. I will come back soon. Take care of the others who come here. Let them see my sign and not be afraid. I will not speak loudly or take what isn't mine. I only want to be a part of this. I only need to know that this is here."
As I walked back up onto the road near the orchard I heard a rustle in the trees. Could it be that after I left, all the little animals came out of their hiding places to see what the human wrote in the leaves. Do you suppose they all gathered in a circle around my word and talked about it?..... Do you think the Manzanita told them that I was all right.... that I would come again? That the word was an offering of love? I hope so....

6 comments:

Madeline's Album said...

What a beautiful post. I enjoyed every word you wrote. Your pictures are great as usual. We do not have manzanita trees here in Alabama and I miss them, they are one of Gods beautiful creations. Have a blessed evening. Madeline

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

It's very interesting the way you look at your surroundings, as if they are holding back until you have passed by. Like you could turn around fast enough to catch them talking amongst themselves. Wouldn't it be fascinating....?

I loved the walk. Thanks for letting us tag along :)

Kathleen said...

What a beautiful post. I love all the beautiful photos!!!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I feel much the same whilst out on my walks...wondering who's eyes are watching me. I wonder what's beneath my feet in the leaves and piles of branches.Do the dogs come with you? How lucky for you to have foxes!I love them but they don't live on the Island. Lovely post, Connie...quiet and thoughtful.

LV said...

I still enjoy walking through the woods. Listening to the sounds and smells of nature. Guess that is part of my being raised on a farm in the country.

bj said...

Hi..I'm bj and over from Thoughts from Meme..I love meeting new bloggers and I really enjoyed your post here today.
Your property is very pretty but not nearly as good looking as those kids on your sidebar. :)

I am your newest follower..and would love for you to come visit me when you can.
I can talk "grandma" with ya..:))
xo bj