Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Tree

Sometimes the most simple of subjects make the best photographs. Less is more, or to borrow (and butcher) a line from a Joyce Kilmer poem: I think that I shall never see a photograph as lovely as a tree.

As a general rule, trees are taken for granted. Used for building houses and boats, and burned to keep us warm. Reconstructed and used as writing material, and yes, as newsprint and photographic paper, a tree may become anything from a match or toothpick to a telephone pole. In a place where lofty forests once stood, there is something about a lone tree, standing as a sentinel against the elements. There may be practical reasons why some farmers leave a lone tree in the midst of their cultivated fields. It remains a mystery to most.

One such tree thrives in Western Huron County, between Pigeon and Caseville in Michigan’s ‘Thumb’ region. The tree has become a favorite subject to photograph. With sweeping branches, the tree presents a visage that is unique. Seen in all sorts of weather, the tree simply stands.

Whether covered with the green leaves of summer, or frost in winter, the tree stands. It may be barely visible on a foggy day, or lit by the failing rays of a setting sun, the tree remains rooted.

Surrounded year after year by corn and beans and sugar beets, the tree remains on guard, seemingly protecting the smaller plants from whatever should come. It may seem foolish to go on about a simple tree, but to again borrow (and again, butcher) Joyce Kilmer: Photographs are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.


Note:  Text and photos Copyright Bill Diller 2010

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