What you see when you are traveling

Photo by Theresa Barker.

I’m staying for a few days in a nearby sea-front town, partly for a conference and partly to get some of my own writing done.  The conference ended yesterday, and because I had organized the conference and was the main administrator, when morning dawned today and the conference was over, I felt suddenly free to pursue other activities.  I nearly holed up in my hotel room to work on my writing, but then a little voice inside me said, “Come on, you should go out.  Find some adventure to participate in!  You can come back and write later.”

That was how I found myself waiting on the ferry dock for the next sailing.  The weather wasn’t great; it was overcast and in the low 30s (F).  In fact when we got to the other side there were tiny specks of snow fluttering in the air, though it never quite got as far as snowing properly.

Still, it was something to take a boat ride across a major waterway in our region, and as I stood on the deck of the boat watching the little town ahead, our destination, gradually growing larger, the town’s individual buildings becoming more distinguishable as we neared the ferry slip, I found myself suddenly imagining what the seafarers back in history might have felt like as their boats skimmed through the water, sea birds soaring overhead, waves making a “shush” sound as the boat cut through the water.

When I got back to my lodgings I realized that even though it was not a huge “adventure,” at the same time it felt good to be out and away from everyday tasks.  I hope you have a chance for a small adventure soon!

Aside:  a story for Dahlia

Creative Commons License
“The Farm” by Joan Miró | This Creative Commons image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

In the garden of good and evil there grew a tree.  It was one of Dahlia’s trees, but it did not know it.  The tree had a base in a black dirt circle and its leaves were flying green swans of composure.

If you spoke to this tree it might tell you a story.  “I am a madman,” it might say, thought nothing about this tree was at all human.  The curved-sluice bark matrix of its trunk, the twisted matrix of branches like spider fingers stretched upward, the jutted forks of its form, none of these were of a human nature. Nevertheless, “I am a madman,” the tree might say, and it would flutter its leaves violently as though buffeted by impossible winds.

And you, standing by this tree asking it a question, in the garden of good and evil, who are you?  Are you the woodcutter with an ax to chop it down leaving only a stubby gashed stump and the pain of a lost limb in its place?  Are you a gardener who seeks to nourish its growth with rich compost and tea fertilizer that makes the tree even stronger and more fertile?  Are you the scientist who comes to study its nature and to solve the many little puzzles that make a tree a tree, the engine of chlorophyll and sap-running?  Are you the folklorist who comes to uncover the buried story within the tree, the sage of a generation of generations of trees that has led to this one, this imperfect yet perfect tree that grows in the garden of good and evil?

Whichever you are, stay for awhile in the shadow of its branches.  Watch it change in the light of an ever-moving sun.  Listen to the brush of a breeze in its branches.  Feel the sense of nutrients being drawn up through its roots to make life bloom at the tips of its branches.  Then perhaps one day it will tell you its secrets.

My friend and fellow blogger Dahlia finds the most amazing trees to feature in her blog.  This week at the conference we were given an image of the painting by surrealist Joan Miró called “The Farm” (above), and asked to write for almost an hour using the image as a starting point.  When I saw the tree in this painting, I instantly thought of Dahlia and some of her very original and unique trees!

Thanks for visiting!

28 thoughts on “What you see when you are traveling

  1. The ferry looks familiar, Teresa. We went to Victoria one year without too much planning. We flew to Tacoma and drove to Seattle, tried to catch to ferry to Port Angela. We missed the “boat.” We drove south to (?) to catch the ferry to Port Townend, drove to Port Angela to take the ferry to Victoria. I love your story!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Since my husband has been to Victoria twice, and I have been there quite a few time, we may not go back. My ex and I used to own 10 acres in Sequim between Port Townsend and Port Angeles. He took the 10 acres and I took the CA house. Lynton and I went by that property once!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, Teresa, I agree with you!! the first time I went to Cannon Beach was in 1977 when I first came to school in Portland, OR. Cannon Beach was Will’s mom’s favorite beach and she asked her ashes to be scattered in the ocean there. Mercy and Will kept the ashes for a year, then went to the beach to let her mom be with the ocean and sky! Yes, we are going to the beach again on our next trip.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, well-said! I can’t say exactly how that excursion might translate into art, but often things pop into my writing or stories that just happened while I was doing something else. And why not do something adventurous just for the sake of living and being alive, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I follow dahlia’s blog and your story is great. I saw a few people(you described) in myself looking at the tree in the painting.
    I agree with you that sometimes it is just great to do nothing but relax and look at the world. I have stopped taking pictures nowadays and just enjoy looking at the trees, people, happening around me.
    Have a good day Theresa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, ilfordian! I love that you enjoyed the stories. Dahlia is magical with her tree tales and observations. She inspires me! And I admire that you have started enjoying your experiences, giving yourself permission not to take photos all the time. That’s wonderful. I might think about doing that! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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