Had I been thinking, I'd have grabbed a leaf from this tree so I could later figure out what sort of tree it is.
Not that it matters. Besides, I already know what sort of tree it is. It's a beautiful tree, or at least it seemed beautiful to me as I was hurrying with my family out of Schneider Tower Sunday into Carbondale to grab breakfast. I paused, my family disappearing into the distance, and snapped this shot, and the one that tops the blog today.
What about the tree stuck me? The shape, I suppose, oddly dense, and then the color, that dark green, set against the blue sky, highlighted by wisps of white clouds. Maybe the composition, standing by itself, in splendor, while the knot of lesser, anonymous trees clustered in the distance, whispering amongst themselves, jealous.
Maybe it was the early morning light. In that light, a rusty dumpster might look beautiful.
Maybe it was the good mood caused by leaving my routine and traveling 350 miles south to witness an astronomical event. I noticed that someone tabulated the hundreds of millions of dollars in productivity that was supposedly being lost by Americans stepping away from work and ogling the eclipse, though I was not among them, because I was working.
It was a futile calculation, the meanest sort of concept of productivity, because looking at a marvelous natural phenomenon is about the most productive thing you can do. Even more than work productivity, because it goes directly to your bottom line, not your boss's. It swells your heart, and puts the rest of life into some kind of perspective. Think of the desperate flailing quality of ... certain public figures, whose name I don't want to sully the post with today, and compare it with the serenity of this tree. And how good it is, to be distracted, even for a minute, from the grim if necessary task of explaining Exactly What is Wrong. To pause and say, "Wow, look at that tree." And not much more. How could it ever be a waste? Just the opposite; it is a necessity.