Friday, July 22, 2011

Blaming it on Genetics

"The acorn is endowed with the spirit of the oak."
- Benjamin F. Schmidt

My father had a thing for trees, primarily old ones.

The more riddled they were with gnarled branches twisting and turning, the more likely the attraction.
And whenever he passed one with his Pentax Spotmatic in hand, I can call to mind as if watching it unfold before me this minute... with him hunkering into an uncomfortable position, holding the camera vertically with the ever familiar arching of his right hand while his index finger hovered a breath away from the shutter release. Always vertical, and with his camera pointed at the heavens too. And when his familiar subject took root in the bottom right corner of the frame, as it always did, he would press the shutter release button which I always felt was closer to a trigger being pulled than not.
He had taken the same picture time and time again. Of course there were different locations along the way and he was open to the variety of specimens that dotted the California landscape. I seem to recall Jeffrey Pines being a favorite. A few years ago I took him to see an ancient grove of Bristlecone Pines located high in the White Mountains. A spiritual place for sure and I remember him being moved to tears as we walked among them.
So when I recently found myself in a similar rant on Mesa Verde... I could only shake my head at the familiarity of it all. This time around, the subject matter was beetle ravaged trees against a mid-afternoon sky.

And if it all seems redundant... I’d ask you to cut this guy some slack, as I blame it on genetics.