The forest and the trees

You know the saying, “she can’t see the forest for the trees”?  It is a derogatory phrase…like when someone is said to “miss the big picture” or “bogs down in details”.

I’ve had forests and trees on my mind a lot in the past few months…feeling something like guilt or shame or frustration for the hours wasted on doing the “little” things.  I wonder some times if I’ve lost the trail.

But on this cool, rainy, September early morning, I woke up with some satisfying clarity on the positive side of that saying.

Life is a whole forest.  It is also just one tree.  Each tree.  Each day.  I don’t know how big the forest is, or when I will walk out of it.  So, I’m going to enjoy my walk through the trees, appreciating the sun and the shade, the rain and the wind, the sounds and the silence, and give my attention to one tree at a time.

A funny thing seems to happen when I consider that one tree long enough…I perceive the pattern around it.  And I find comfort in that.

Enjoy your walk.

X marks the spot, a vine crisscrosses a tree at Radnor Lake, Nashville
A vine crisscrosses a tree. April 2015 at Radnor Lake in Nashville, Tennessee.


Ridges of Bark on a Tree at Radnor Lake in Nashville
The trees and vines begin to bloom, Spring 2015 at Radnor Lake in Nashville, TN.


Vine entwines tree Radnor Lake Nashville
A vine entwines a tree at Radnor Lake, Nashville, TN. Spring 2015.


Quiet trees Radnor Lake Nashville
On this rainy Spring day in April 2015, we walked amid the trees. Absorbing. Radnor Lake, Nashville, TN.
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Time and time again

Time and time again, I miss Cuba.  Really miss it, with an ache, with a feeling that I should be there right now, among the raw beauty, the surprising quirks, and the magnificent people with such life and humor and hope.   Some people would say “time stands still in Cuba”.  It does not.  It moves at a speed and in directions all it’s own.  There’s no explaining that with logic or words.  Nor even with photos.  I was sleepless there, trying to pin down all the little moments, the tiny things that remind me, “you’re in a special special place in time…remember everything!”

Already…already…I wait to return.

Time...in a peso taxi, Havana, Cuba
In a peso taxi, Havana, Cuba


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Anticipation and distance

Last week, a thunderstorm crossed Chicago.  All that sunny day, we were warned about the imminent danger–about the derecho winds, the baseball-sized hail, the floods.  Finally, a lot later, the sky changed.  Clouds rolled in.  Lightning blinked, then connected in a long slow bolt, a twitching line to the ground that lasted long enough to watch it.  I stared at that bolt longer than any other in my life–electricity firing right there in front of me.  And then, there was a darkness and a stillness…as if the trees, the birds, the air itself held a breath, waiting for something to happen.  Time seemed to be suspended waiting, waiting, waiting for the energy of the storm, for the air to release and breath again, for a hard cleansing rain.  But only a little rain and the darkness became just the night.

Anticipation, unsatisfied.

I photographed that night.  Close.  I wanted to see the evidence of the energy in the little drops of rain, in the silence of the leaves.

Now, a week later, I am sitting here, listening to a gentle rain on the windows, and looking at the photos and I think…I was too close.  Sometimes I am too far away and there’s no drama, no details, no passion for the moment.  But being too close, there’s no discernible pattern, and no focus.  The moment passes, the magical energy of the storm fades, and the memories linger.

Lessons learned on anticipation and distance?  I can’t keep anticipation forever.  I need a little distance, a little space to see things clearly, to see the pattern.

But please storm, come back soon.  Very soon.

Waiting for a storm that never came
Waiting for a storm that never came



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