this too
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
  Back to nature

Every time I see the young birch trees planted outside the Tate Modern, I think of this. Remembering the sculpture, I look more closely at the slender trunks, the line and texture of their silvery white. Trees, sculpture, photo - and I put the trees into another photo.

I must have passed the birch trees last year, but I didn’t focus on them. This year I paused and looked long. This Spring I paused and looked longer at all growing things. More, I think, than any Spring since we moved from country to town when I was six.

It’s because of Nina, who taught me in her class last year the names and healing properties of many plants, and taught me that if I brewed an infusion and sat quietly inhaling and sipping it, paying attention, I could often trust my own sense of the plant’s properties.

And it’s because of reading Fred’s and Lorianne’s and Karen’s blogs, where they gently and skilfully record their natural surroundings. They look and photograph and share. I look, in my office, on a little screen, under fluorescent lights. Then I go out and look harder at the growing things around me.

I’m starting to identify more plants. Sometimes a name floats up to consciousness, amazing me – a name I knew when I was very small, down there near the ground, near to plants. A knowledge not completely, as I thought, forgotten.

It's hard to believe your photo was taken in the city. How precious young stands of trees like that must be. Those birches look about the same size as the eucalypts in our garden that we thin out with a chain saw to allow more grass to grow. Makes me appreciate the magnificent stand of trees I live beside. But then I don't have the Tate Gallery to compensate!
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Location: London, UK

Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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