Today is the last day of Becky B’s July Treesquare challenge and I can’t let it end without including some of my favorite trees. Callery Pear Trees line the street into my condo development and bloom in bursts of white for only about a week every Spring. This photo was taken April 26, 2021. A yearly photo opportunity you can’t procrastinate about or else it’s too late and the petals fall…blanketing the grass below.
What is it about a Weeping Willow tree? I couldn’t take my eyes off of its massive, yet delicate presence the day I discovered it on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. Branches reaching down…almost brushing the pond below. I don’t think I’ve even been in a more peaceful spot.
A painting come to life.
Becky B’s July Squares: Treesquare
Looks like stained glass…he said. Yeah, I guess it does. The color editing settings had a mind of their own yesterday…reminding me of the Ouija boards of years ago. My computer mouse just did its thing and when it was done, I thought…yes that’s it. The square tree I captured during a walk now looks a lot like my life these days. A study in hidden contrasts of dark and light…real and unreal. Bits of blue. Shots of red.
In my part of the world it is summer. A hotter than normal summer from what the climate experts report.
I’ve never been one to look forward to the hot and humid, but it does seem worse than in years past…to me anyway. Growing up, my family never had air conditioning until we moved when I was 11. Until then, I spent “boiling” days (as I called them) outside in a kiddie pool or under the sprinkler or sitting next to a humming floor fan while watching cartoons or playing Monopoly with my sister. It was a round metal fan that you could sit on, cooling off your legs too. Hopefully without sticking your fingers inside. Now known as a “vintage floor fan,” it was back before finger-saving safety features became all the rage.
But I digress…this treesquare is obviously a winter photograph – post major snowstorm. I took this photo many years ago, as I liked the look of wet snow clinging to bare branches. It could be a challenge to capture the moment before winter sunshine made it disappear.
Before we know it…winter will creep back and this will be the scene outside many of our windows. No more hot and humid…which will be fine with me!
There is a tree on this square (!) album cover…so it is joining the Treesquare challenge today. “Tea for the Tillerman” also happens to be one of my all-time favorite albums. I don’t know if I’ve ever really noticed the tree before, but now that I have, it just ups this album on my meter of favorites.
Those two kids climbing the tree? Well, one of them could have been me way back in the day between the ages of 4 and 11. When I had what I called a Climbing Tree in the front yard of our small home. I don’t recall what kind of tree it was; only that its branches were at just the right height for me to grab, gain a foothold…and up I’d go.
We also had a backyard, but it felt more like a cage. My father installed a split rail fence around the entire perimeter and then covered it with chicken wire – ostensibly so my sister, brother & I wouldn’t escape and
flee wander off into traffic. Except there was very little (no) traffic, so maybe it was because of my little brother – so he could be sent out there to play unsupervised. He did tend to wander. I’d try to get away with climbing over the fence, as the gate was locked, but I was soon discovered.
The thing is…I loved the front yard. Much freer place to play. No fence. No boundaries but the street curb. Plus a tree to climb and hide in when it was leaved out. I spent hours balanced on branches…”spying” on unsuspecting passersby and imagining exciting stories about what adventures they might be up to! Perhaps too many “saving the day” Saturday morning cartoons; although more likely it probably coincided with my addiction to Nancy Drew books. Perhaps I was developing my own “The Clue in The Climbing Tree” or “The Secret in the Street.” Unfortunately I have yet to unearth any photographs of my tree in the boxes of old photos stacked high in my closets.
Decades later I happened to drive through that NJ suburb on a family trip and was curious to see the “old house” again. Sad to say the tree was gone. Gone! The house, unfortunately, remained frozen in time. Nothing had been done to maintain it. Peeling paint. Overgrown shrubbery. Junk piled up and down the crumbling driveway. The 1950s windows…dirty and tired. A sad sight.
The climbing tree was a rare happy place from that time in my life. A special perch and hide-out all in one. Perhaps it’s just as well I remember it that way.
Let’s not forget how this post started…Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf, released an incredible collection of brilliant songs on “Tea for the Tillerman” in 1970. As you can tell from the faded & worn album cover, it was well loved and spent little time on a shelf. We all have at least one album where we remember every word to every song…and know what song will come next as each one finishes. I know it’s cliché – but in this case…I think these songs are timeless. Below is a link to one from this album (and it’s hard to choose just one, so if you can, check out the whole record):
On The Road To Find Out
by Cat Stevens
BeckyB’s July Squares Challenge: Treesquare