Thursday, August 24, 2017

No poem as lovely as...

     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. 
    

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. And at least 10% of the trees in the Forest Preserves are dead or dying & the place looks like shit, because of that!
      They never remove the dead & fallen trees, especially the ones near roads.

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  2. Every morning of my life, I sit on my porch with a cup of tea and look out at a majestic, broad canopied sycamore tree. In fact, I am looking at it this very moment. I recommend starting the day looking at a tree. It's a reminder of the inherent beauty and wonder of our delicate planet, and it tempers the inevitable jitters when I sip my tea and read the headlines. A moment's reverie with a tree does wonders for the spirit.

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  3. Neil, should the word well dry up or you just get tired of the fruitless task of "explaining Exactly What is Wrong," your photography skills will suffice to earn you a good living. Your writing and your photography each in its own way transforms the boring into something intriguing and vibrant.

    john

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  4. When I saw those estimates of lost productivity, I thought they should be compared to the economic boom of people traveling to see the eclipse, buying food and souvenirs, etc.

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  5. It is a lovely tree! I've been noticing the beauty in nature a lot more lately too.

    LindaB

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    1. I'm more of a people person, not gregarious necessarily, but drawn to photos, painting, representations of people more than to still-lives, landscapes, trees, but Neil managed to make this tree interesting to me by anthropomorphizing it, lending it and its jealous neighbors the bit of humanity that I need.

      john

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  6. Nancy Nall, who frequently links to you in her delightful blog, had a great perspective on those lost-productivity sourpusses:

    Monday is Eclipse Day, and in filling the nation’s pages, feeds and airwaves with related garbage masquerading as journalism, NBC News went with the Scrooge angle: The eclipse will cost America almost $700 million in lost productivity. Please join me in a hearty fuck-you to whichever economist pulled that number out of his butt. Americans really love this sort of self-laceration, which in its own way beats anything ever put on a Soviet propaganda poster. I once read a lost-productivity analysis of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. OMG the carnage in the bottom line. I can’t even.

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    1. John Crudele in the NY Post refuted that claim, which like all other claims of lost productivity comes from the ridiculous "experts" at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, who come up with this crap several times a year.
      In his column, Crudele brought up all the extra business done in the eclipse zone of totality for that day, which most likely balanced out the losses elsewhere.
      http://tinyurl.com/ybwlw7lj

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  7. People who publish lost productivity stats are inhuman. So much so that they can be replaced by machines. How's that for bottom line?

    Nice picture, Neil!

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    1. Nice photo. It was very presidential of you not to name the tree.

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  8. Your closing lines remind me of the Alistair Cooke quote: “In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.”

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  9. I know exactly what you mean...there's a tree that made me go "Wow! Look at that tree!" very near my home. I walk to it frequently and contemplate its amazing size, form and overall beauty. It commands my attention and I feel better for seeing it.

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