Tuesday, February 24, 2009

jai ho...

I turn 24 tomorrow. This morning I'm sitting at my kitchen table eating cheesecake for breakfast and looking at my shooting target from saturday. After a spree of warm weather, its been snowing constantly for the past 24 hours. Everything covered in a pristine, smooth white blanket. The fields out my back window look endless and I can barely make out the silhouette of the line of trees at the end of the road before it disappears into the flat white horizon. I don't love winter a whole lot, to be honest, but I do love the way the world draws in close when it snows. Everything slows down, the only thing that exists is what you can see and feel and hear: the tops of streetlights dissolving into the sky, the crunch of shoes sinking through fresh powder, snowflakes falling from my eyelashes down my cheeks. I thought I'd have already done some things by the age of 24 that I have yet to accomplish, but today everything is simply distilled down into that line of trees on the horizon - the extent of my world.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

send my roots rain...

It's been a while. I know. And I haven't been taking many tree photos. I know.

I've been away. Visiting in Toronto. The CN tower, Steamwhistle Brewery, The Green Room, 98 Chandos.

And then I've been working. Literally from the hour I got off the plane. 10-6 at the print shop, everything else outside of sleep is allotted to marking first year English Lit papers over the next week or two. In the midst of relatively painful grammar and writing, I pulled out a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, "Thou Art Indeed". I like Hopkins, even though he's someone I forget about more often than not. There is one of his poems that has stuck with me since I first read it though. It's called "Windhover" and its worth a look if you get a chance. But that is not the poem that captured me tonight. The last line of "Thou Art Indeed" caught my eye for some reason. It's rather simple. In my opinion, Hopkins has written far more beautiful things. But for some reason, it grabbed on to me.

"Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain"

I have a lot of speculation about what that could mean to me and why that in particular stuck in my mind...but I think I'll leave myself to mull over that privately for now.

back to marking.........

Monday, February 9, 2009

memory will rust and erode into lists...

Its been snowing all day. Almost imperceptibly. There's enough coming down that downtown across the river is completely whited out, but out the windows in front of me, it looks like only a smooth white mist.

Rather than becoming the girl who takes photos of trees, I've now turned into that girl who takes photos of power poles. I can't/refuse to explain it but I'm just loving them lately...as long as they have a bunch of sepia grit all over them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the sound the universe makes coming in my window...

After my last post, I got to thinking about all the things I like taking photos of that are in danger of being cliche: trees, sky, space, sunlight. It reminded me of a book I received as a gift last Christmas. It's something I read as a child and had forgotten about until Karen gave it to me because she said it reminded her of me. I've gone through a lot of books in my lifetime already, but I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. And though I was a little hesitant to share it all here, I thought I'd just add this link for you to go buy it yourself once you've read it and been astounded by its beauty because the illustrations are pretty incredible as well!

If You're Not from the Prairie
by David Bouchard

If you're not from the prairie, you don't know the sun, you can't know the sun.
Diamonds that bounce off crisp winter snow
Warm waters in dugouts and lakes that we know
The sun is our friend from when we were young
A child of the prairie is part of the sun
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the sun.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know the wind, you can't know the wind.
Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door
As children we know when we play any game
The wind will be there yet we play just the same
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the wind.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know the sky, you can't know the sky
The bold prairie sky is clear bright and blue
Though sometimes cloud messages give us a clue
Monstrous grey mushrooms can hint of a storm
Or painted pink feathers say good bye to the warm
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the sky.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know what's flat, you've never seen flat
When travellers pass through across our great plain
They all view our home they all say the same
"It's simple and flat!" They've not learned to see
The particular beauty that's now part of me
If you're not from the prairie you don't know what's flat.

If you're not from the prairie you've not heard the grass you've never heard grass
In strong summer winds, the grains and grass bend
And sway to a dance that seems never to end
It whispers its secrets - they tell of this land
And the rhytym of life played by nature's own hand
If you're not from the prairie, you've never heard grass.

So you're not from the prairie and yet you know snow you think you know snow?
Blizzards bring danger as legends have told
In deep drifts we roughhouse, ignoring the cold
At times we look out at great seas of white
So bright is the sun that we squeeze our eyes tight
If you're not from the prairie you don't know snow.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know our trees you can't know our trees
The trees that we know have taken so long
To live through our seasons to grow tall and strong
They're loved and they're treasured we watched as they grew
We knew they were special - the prairie has few
If you're not from the prairie you don't know our trees.

Still you're not from the prairie and yet you know cold..you say you've been cold?
Do you know what to do to relieve so much pain
Of burning from deep down that drives you insane?
Your ears and your hands right into your toes
A child who's been cold on the prairie will know
Of all of those memories we share when we're old
None are more clear then that hard bitter cold
You'll not find among us a soul who can say
"I've conquered the wind on a cold winter's day"
If you're not from the prairie you don't know the cold you've never been cold.

If you're not from the prairie you don't know me you just can't know ME.
You see, my hair's mostly wind, my eyes filled with grit,
My skin's red or brown and my lips chapped and split
I've lain on the prairie and heard grasses sigh
Ive stared at the cast open bowl of the sky
I've seen all those castles and faces in clouds
My home is the prairie and I cry out loud

If you're not from the prairie you can't know my soul
You don't know our blizzards, you've not fought our cold
You can't know my mind, nor even my heart
Unless deep within you, there's somehow a part
A part of these things that I've said that I know
The wind, sky and earth, the storms and the snow
Best say you have - and then we'll be one
For we will have shared that same blazing sun.

put a little something in our lemonade and take it with us...

There is a tree on the southeast corner of the high level bridge. Well, not on the bridge per se, but on the corner of 109th St and Saskatchewan Drive (which is basically the southeast corner of the high level bridge). Ninety percent of the trees around it are evergreens. The other ten percent are some sort of deciduous trees that look bare and dead right now. But this tree is a Russian Olive tree. They're probably my favourite tree. Or at least in the top three. This morning, as I sat in deCapo watching the sun shine through its branches, I decided I need to take more photos of trees. In the past year, I've been constantly in fear of becoming that girl who takes photos of trees, so I have held myself back in that regard. And I think I've lost out on some great images because of it. So today, I'm deciding to take a photo of a tree that I really like once every two weeks. I'm bringing my camera to my early breakfast date tomorrow and setting up across the street for a little while until the light hits through those branches at just the right moment. Because I like trees. And I like photographing them. And I really like Russian Olive trees. And I'm not ashamed.