Stopped by Trees

Most of the time I am a driven person, going after one thing and trying to avoid something else. I expect that I’m like most of you wanting to create a new photograph, get a better lens or camera, a different job or any job, more time to photograph, etc. I’m ashamed to admit how much, even subtly at times, my attention is hooked into acquisition and seeming survival

The ironic thing is, if you’re reading this, you like me are in pretty good shape. You probably are fed and housed and maybe in a good relationship. However, all of that stuff only stops the drive for a short while.

Lucky for me, I go for regular hikes in the hills surrounding my home. Sometimes it’s subtle and I just return feeling more relaxed and peaceful, and sometimes it’s dramatic. Just this morning I was looking at a line of dead trees and the beautiful large green oak behind them, and everything stopped. I was so taken in by the beauty of the scene in front of me that I stopped obsessing on my usual crap. I started to cry with gratitude for being alive and present in this moment, in this spot, witnessing this beauty. The experience passed but the peace and gratitude remains. A prayer usually arises in me then that I won’t so easily forget how lucky and blessed I am. But at some point, circumstances seem to pull me back into life’s drama. Hopefully once again I’ll be “stopped by trees.”

~ by danbaumbach on March 31, 2009.

6 Responses to “Stopped by Trees”

  1. Dan, this is a very fitting passage. One of my best friends is an avid outddoorsman. When he wasn’t at work, he was on his mountain bike, or snowboard, or camping. I haven’t met a person so in love with nature as him.

    On sunday morning he passed away from brain cancer at the age of 37. Until the end, nature was always where he found peace and all of life’s problems would disappear.

    Thank you for putting these feelings into words.

  2. Thank you Martin. I’m sorry for your loss. I was a little nervous about posting this. I thought it might be too emotional. I’m glad it struck you.

    – Dan.

  3. Dan,

    I love your colors – out here in Red Rock Country we don’t that particular kind of beauty!
    But it’s also your sentiment – I’m planning a spring trip in a Red Rocks Country where I can get this far into beauty as you described here.
    If there’s any advice I can offer – Dan, keep your muse upfront and active…

  4. Thanks Joe.

    – Dan

  5. I too am stopped by trees and find comfort and solitude in them. I try to hike weekly and in times sadness or stress find peace therein. I wish more people might find the peace and gratitude inherent in nature so that we might appreciate it more and destroy it less. I found your beautiful work through RedDog and just spend quiet a while browsing through your trees. Something really drew me to image #338.

    • Thank you Erin. #338, Merced Beauty, is also a favorite of mine and interestingly enough it was shot on the same day as the photo being sold through RedDog. I was planning on writing about them in my next blog post.

      – Dan.

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