Sunday, 9 August 2015

The strength and vulnerability of isolation

All my life I have been intrigued by solitary trees.
In more recent years I've started taking photographs of them.
There's something that draws me to them; a strength and solidity that stands boldly against many a dramatic back drop and I love that.
Against the odds there it stands, on open moorland, on top of a  hill, roots dug in to a cliff top or in the middle of a field where only the buzzards appreciate it's presence as an excellent viewing point for them to spot their next scurrying prey.
Each tree is so different, yet there's a familiar thread that binds them together in isolated unity.
A defiant:  "I'm here. I'm alone. I'm strong!"

And yet whenever I stumble across a tree on it's own I think of this famous quote by Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr,

"You come into the world alone and you go out of the world alone yet it seems to me you are more alone while living than even going and coming."

This is particularly poignant when I re-visit a tree I've long before photographed and discover it's been snapped in half or uprooted completely and lies dying alone and forgotten.  I can't tell when or why it's happened, was it diseased and I didn't realise?  Perhaps that last stormy night took it down - and yet it had survived maybe a 100 or more bad winters and spring gales...why now?

Off in the distance the forest stands unperturbed by the loss of it's comrade.  They stand together arrogantly looking on as I wonder how long my old friend's been lying there.
An unanswerable question of course.

Every now and then, when the storm becomes unbearable even the most independent and stoic need the shelter that friends and family can provide.

It's true that we will go out of the world alone - but we can allow those who care for us to be our companions and lovingly hold our hand for at least part of the journey.

"When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives." - George R.R Martin, A Game of Thrones.