Photographic Story ~
For anyone who enjoys and spends abundant time in nature trees become a marker of time. Like pencil marks on the door frames measuring the growth of our kids, trees provide their own markings.
The first time I noticed this young cottonwood tree it was but head high. Just a young little spindly looking thing. Being in an area of the tallgrass prairie I frequent regularly I would notice it rather casually. As time and many return visits went by it did the only natural thing it could. It grew. Maintaining its familiar shape and form, year after year it made its way upward.
During a mid-October visit, now nearly 7 years since I had first noticed this young’un, I began, like many times before to explore around. Walking down an old road gazing into the tallgrass covered hillsides. Colors of the tallgrass prairie during Autumn do vary slightly year to year. Some years seem more reddish-brown, some more golden yellows. This was one of the golden yellow years.
It was only after an hour or so in this area, the sun had begun to make it’s way lower in the western sky that it made its first true appearance. Oh, it had actually been making this appearance day after day and year after year, but this time it had an audience, me!
One must understand the impact light has on a subject. The angle, intensity, and color. This little sapling cottonwood, now at least 15 feet tall or slightly more was being put on display. With its backlit yellow leaves set on a stage of golden side lit tallgrass, this was a special time for it. An ephemeral time to never be repeated exactly the same again.
When I made this photograph I did so because I liked the intimate scene. It framed up nicely with the lens I had chosen, and the scene exposed very well at that moment. It was only later, after beginning to process the image back home that I realized I had more than what I had originally thought.
Like the pencil marks on the door frame in your home, marking the continuous growth of your children, I felt I had capture one of many growing marks of this young vibrant cottonwood tree.
Today I still visit this area and this specific tree. Now 3 to 4 times the height it was when this photograph was made it still has the same form and shape. As our children and family age, we still see their younger selves. The vision of not only who they were, but who they still are regardless of years. They may age in life, shows years of living and all that entails, but in the eyes of their loved ones they will forever be, growing up.