Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Nature of Pine Bark: Beauty in Every Line and Pore

The Beauty of Pine Bark - Lynda Lehmann c 2009

Looking for and finding natural beauty, is my life. It carries me through my days, cushioning me from life's disappointments and the tragedies of the human condition. I remember the day I walked around the shore of Echo Lake State Park in New Hampshire, snapping photos of tree bark. I approached this tall pine, among others, on a crowded beach, and stood just a couple of inches from the scabrous and meandering bark. The people sunning on the lake shore literally stared--no doubt they thought I had escaped from the "loony bin." What IS that woman doing, standing with her nose stuck against the trunk of that scraggly, old pine? (Smirk...)

I've always had to explain to people how and why I LOOK at things with great interest. I've been asked in recent years,"Why are you always looking up?" The answer, of course, is that I find great inspiration in the trees, sky, and clouds. And why shouldn't I? Chances are, those particular acquaintances might be more concerned with contemplating their navels.

I remember WAY back in my college days, when I carried an apple home from the dining hall at Penn State and a roommate made a quip about "pseudo-intellectualism." But I was in earnest when I commented on the form and exquisite color of the apple. Of course in those days of upheaval and rebellion, we questioned everything. Especially the "Establishment," the "military-industrial complex" and the other stale institutions of the status-quo. Now, in my ripe old age, I realize that more than anything, we have to question ourselves, as the basis for any positive change. Transformation begins with our own perception and intellect. We have to take responsibility for who we are, for our own attitudes, actions and reactions, before we can change the world.

I'm lucky that simple beauties change the world for me! If this means I'm a "simple" person, I'll take it. I think I'm blessed to find the beauty and mystery in small details some other folks might be "too busy" to discover.

NOTE: I did tweak the above photo a bit, to bring out the hues that were already there, in the pine bark.

All photos and text copyright Lynda Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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  1. What a stunning photo. The colors and textures of the bark are incredibly beautiful.

    Yes, you are very fortunate if you can find great pleasure in simple things. I try to do the same and find it much more fulfilling.

    Happy Holidays to you.

  2. enjoyed this post and the photograph so much! good one :) and i agree, if i'm simple because i like looking at rust and junk and scrap up close and seeing 'life' then so be it. its a nurturing post, food for thought and appreciated!

  3. What a beautiful piece! And as always a beautifully worded post too. Thank goodness for those with vision because we would be a much more solemn place if there were not such beauty in everything.

  4. Lynda:

    I'm with you. I love to walk and stare at the ground for tidbits of interesting little things. Simple things: rocks, flowers, insects, bottles and broken glass. I guess it comes from my childhood when I would walk for miles through the Mojave Desert. I always kept my eyes to the ground. And for good reason too. There could be snakes or spiders or all sorts of little surprises. And if weren't watching closely, well, you know what happened. So, yes, life is made up mostly of simple pleasures.

    I love the image.

    Happy trails.

  5. Hey Lynda,

    How I do understand you: I, too, always look up! I love looking at the sky, clouds, sun, at the trees...nature is gorgeous.

    "We have to take responsibility for who we are, for our own attitudes, actions and reactions, before we can change the world." - Hear, Hear!!

    No, you are not a simple person, au contraire...because you simple beauties change the world for you, you are a special person (one who has nearly reached enlightenment).

    Beautiful image, Lynda...with the tweak and all :D!


  6. Angela - So we are both fulfilled by our way of seeing things, and very fortunate in that. Happy holidays to you too, Angela!

  7. Paula - Me too, with junk and scrap and rusted metals, peeling paint and such. And lichen and moss, and on and on. SO much to see, so little time! "Seeing" becomes an art, and is self-reinforcing, because it gives us such reward. JOY is not always attainable for many people. :( I wish the world were more full of joy, than the hatred that is so prevalent.

  8. Tangled Stitch - Beauty to be found in almost everything, and only the I/eye required to see it!

    And imagine how barren the world would be without all the forms of art that have evolved!

  9. Swubird - Since we both still look down or up, or both, as the case may be, I guess some of the "kid" in us, still lives. That curiosity and wonder are still intact.

    I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, surrounded by cornfields, hills and streams, so I guess that's where I learned to tune in to nature. It was such a comfort, and "gave" me much more, usually, than the world of humans. As I know you understand...

    I know what you mean about the dessert, as some of my family lives in Arizona. I love walking there, but I DO watch my step!

  10. Max - You are far too kind, my friend! While I don't aspire to Enlightenment, and I blush at your attribution of high consciousness to silly me, I know what makes me tick.

    I drink every day from the "great Cup of Beauty" that is our world.

    Thanks for sharing worlds with me, dear Max. You are always positive and in touch with your inner being, and you have both feelings and intellect in abundance, it seems!

    Have a great weekend. Don't dance till the morning light, because you will be tired for work, lol... :)

  11. Lynda,

    No kindness involved...I only spoke my perception of you :).

    "Thanks for sharing worlds with me, dear Max. You are always positive and in touch with your inner being, and you have both feelings and intellect in abundance, it seems!"

    You are welcome :D!
    Aaaahh, who's being kind now? Let's just say that I still have a long way to go, my dear friend :).

    LOL LOL Thanks; and no I won't dance till the morning (and trust me, I used to): I am getting old LOL ;)...


  12. MAX - If you have a long way to go--all of us do--you're already pretty far on the road!

    YOU are getting old? hahahahaa. You're a spring chicken, compared to me.

    PSSSSST....secret: I'll be 60 in May! An unforgiving number!

  13. Lynda,

    "If you have a long way to go--all of us do--you're already pretty far on the road!"

    Kindness, kindness *bowing*!

    "YOU are getting old? hahahahaa. You're a spring chicken, compared to me."

    Age is an illusion, girl. What counts is the soul, nothing else.

    "PSSSSST....secret: I'll be 60 in May! An unforgiving number!"

    60: what a beautiful age! 60's are the new 50's, did you know that? My dad is 66 today.

  14. PUH-LEEZ, don't tell me I'm almost as old as your father!! ;)

    Just kidding, Max. Wish him a happy, healthy year for me. And tell him I said he should be proud of his articulate and "thinking" daughter.

    As for being almost 60, I'll take it!

  15. Lynda,

    LOL LOL...ok, I'll silence.

    Thanks, darling: I will pass on your wishes to my dad :D!
    He is already a proud dad, if I convey what you've just said he won't shut up for weeks lol...

    You go, girl :D!

  16. MAX - It is my sincere perception of you, so you are welcome to share it with him! I'm sure I'm not the only fellow blogger with a high regard for you! :)

  17. Lynda,

    Thank you, my friend *almost blushing face*.

    "I'm sure I'm not the only fellow blogger with a high regard for you! :)"

    Aaahh, let's just say that I have very good friends in the blogosphere ;)...

  18. The more power to ya, Max! I have some pretty nice, decent and smart blogging friends too. :)

  19. Dearest Lynda, I had to chuckle when I saw this photo as I have some almost identical that I took 3 summers ago of a ponderosa pine. I found the bark to be some of the finest art I could find anywhere (but then all of Nature is the purest art). I also photographed the chips on the ground at the base of the tree. They were like puzzle pieces. I will sometime post them. I feel so close to you simply in knowing that you marvel over the same simple things that I do. ...and close to you for sooooooooooo many other reasons.

    I am currently working on about 8 photo books and one is totally of textures. In it is my pine bark photos. I think of you so often, and was thinking of you the other night when working on the photo books.


    I wrote the above and then went back and read the words and I cannot believe I wrote about "the simple things" and then I read your words about the very same thing. I will openly admit that I am very very simple. I don't wish to be otherwise; I find it very exhausting to be something I am not.

    I often see how people who first meet me think I am simple and unknowing. Then as they get to know me they discover a whole deep river within. One person said to me, "With all THAT in you why aren't you spouting it from the roof tops; I would be if I had lived your life and knew what you knew. It makes you appear simple because you don't let people know all that's inside you." I said, "Why would I do THAT?" They said, "Well, it's impressive and you just walk around seeming so simple." I said, "But I AM simple and I am VERY happy being simple. I have no need to impress anyone. I am HAPPY inside, and I simply enjoying 'being'." They said, "Yes, but you have to think about your image." I said, "WHAT image? I am not image. I am ME." Dear Lynda, I think that when we are soooo happy with ourselves, with "being", with Nature...we have no need to impress anyone. We just are at peace and take great joy in the miraculous beauty of pine bark, of moss, of reflections on water, curled leaves, and so many many other things.

    Thank you for making my world more real.
    I love you for it and so much more.

  20. ROBIN - Yes, we are so lucky that we are happy and indeed in love with just "being." But I suspect that our lives would be a bit different if we were not in a position to immerse ourselves in nature. I always said "less is more" and my husband laughs at me. Because of course, I am blessed to have a camera, a computer, painting supplies and so on. But for those of us who are fortunate enough to have plenty to eat and a roof over our heads and pleasant surroundings, I really do believe that less is more. Filling up on the great cup of beauty that is nature, is so much more sustaining than owning cars or trinkets or consuming entertainment. So we do have this in common--and sometimes it seems an uncanny connection!

    Did you get the message I sent you about thinking about you, evening mentioning you to my husband, the day I took photos in the marshy forest near Norway? I'm still reeling from that one--that you actually grew up there!

    Regardless, you were with me in spirit!

    You make my life feel more actual and real too--sharing our passion for the natural world is very validating and invigorating!

    I'm so glad we've met on the blogosphere! Not only might we find all kinds of information and new friends on the web, we may even find our kindred spirits. Such amazing potential....

    One day we will talk!

    Have a wonderful Christmas. You will be excited about your book until it comes out, no doubt. And for you to be validated this way is a great honor! But you've worked hard and courageously examined your journey, and you deserve it! :)

  21. Had to take a look at your pine bark the way you take a closer look at nature. I believe the eye of the artist is one of our greatest gifts, and truly admire yours.

  22. I can fully relate to this post as well as the image. I have been lost in tree bark several times.

  23. Tree bark is extraordinary. You've gone beyond that word with this image. It's definitely an abstract painting. Wonderful


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