preamble: the thing I do with my camera is a unique and practised form of not-photography
Here are some trees at Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in South Australia as they were in 2018 when I visited them. It was late autumn.
I had my newish Nikon camera strapped around my neck and was still driving it on automatic (and still am).
The gardens are quiet in cold weather, and you have to walk to stay warm. There’s no choice but to behold the hillside.
Here is a cluster of trees, as they were, wearing sparkling silver coats and yellow moss, like ethereal beings:
I think of our strangeness of place—mine and these trees—us Northern Hemisphere-descended ones, stealing the soil we’re rooted in from wattle, casuarina. I would have been wearing wool from sheep whose hooves trample the delicate spores of South Australia’s endangered Mallee.
Here’s some intricate tree-canopy lace that looks like my mother’s needlework:
And below is some sudden late autumn sunshine that coated a tree. When I photographed it, I was thinking of lyrics by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly:
“I just put on my winter coat.”—Paul Kelly, Winter Coat
If you’re reading this now, in May 2022, it’s late autumn in the Southern Hemisphere again. We in Australia have just had some welcomed electoral sunshine, but the world’s skies are still increasingly grim. Here in the weather, winter’s still on the way. Weirdly, I’m glad, even though my bones can already feel its icicles— I’ve been thinking about this cold garden.
I need to be out in it, to natter with its bare limbs. Reckon with the gloom. Witness fresh how nature overwinters itself through bleak and uninhabitable days. How it still holds conversations with light.
I can better grasp the presence of sunshine when it isn’t glaring me in the face, when it’s fighting its way in, instead. It seems more akin to our current crises.
I’m privileged. Hyper-consciously so. I live under a safe roof (touch wood). I have the choice of venturing safely out, the luxury of turning to nature to try and reconcile this apocalyptic rollout of viruses, drought, flood, war, apathy, brutality and greed with daily normalities. None of it is physically oppressing me—yet. Who knows, that might be a matter of time.
It’s impossible to escape thoughts of the world’s devastating human-made unrest, even in the peacefulness of nature. But here’s the garden’s Main Lake, as I photographed it in 2018:
And here’s a copse of trees standing their stoic brightness at the edge of the duck pond as if modelling inner strength:
Here are their angelic trunks showing clearly in the murky water:
And here’s a peaceful seat. I wish everyone had access to one of these, and in better weather:
The end—gosh, let’s hope not.
Footnote: I’m likely to edit out gosh. But, gosh.
#climatechange #war #etc. #floodsofworry #spotsoflight #thankyounature #lordylordymay(thank you,Boy&Bear)