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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

portrait:: their tree

This fallen oak tree has been a huge part of my children's outdoor adventure time. It is in a public preserve that we visit a few times a week during most of the year. They refer to it as "their tree" and have in some ways grown up on it, especially my youngest. From not being able to get up too high, to walking tightrope style and even getting around the vertical branch in the middle.

They meet there with our small homeschool group and it is amazing how each session takes on a imaginative flavor of its own, from battles, to playing house, or a perennial favorite - clay factory. They have found at the base of the tree, a moist clay deposit that they use to build bowls and little people. They play at this for hours, divvying up the jobs, the raw materials, the distribution guidelines and all with no adult interaction  - just kids negotiating. It is really amazing.

On this tree they have found skinks, ate untold amounts moss, tried to fly, tested their physical limits, watched dried up resurrection ferns come alive and connected deeply to a piece of nature. So much so, that they claim ownership of the tree. And I think (and hope) that their childish "ownership" will mature into  stewardship that extends to all living spaces. I was recently very moved when I thought both about the amount and quality of time spent at the tree and felt I really needed to make a photograph that captured something of its essense.

Does your family have a natural spot that you are deeply connected to? Have you taken its portrait?


  1. we have a similar live oak nearby that my kids are particularly fond of and love to picnic and explore under. there is just something magical about playing under a tree so old, so majestic.

  2. Beautiful tree, and it is quite special that they have a such an attachment to it, something for them to remember forever. Gorgeous photo Amy!!

  3. Beautiful tree and a beautiful portrait. We haven't found our spot yet, but are seeking it out...


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