Yesterday evening I got a text message from a friend: "If you're around, we're going for dollar tacos. Wanna' come?" I quite wanted to come. But no. I'll not be making this week's gathering. Texted him back that I'm in WV, finally, but hopefully we'll catch up when I'm back in Greensboro in a few weeks.
People ask me what I'm doing here and the answers vary. Regular readers have already seen most of them. "Working." "Getting away from the bustle." "Having a retreat." "Enjoying the pleasure of my own company."
And? Obsessing over a chain. A chain! Related to: "Reacquainting myself with my love for photography." Yesterday I was walking around the back yard trying out manual camera settings for the first time in years. Reminding myself of everything I remember about reciprocal value and F-Stop. Slowing down and looking at things differently. Taking my time. For a change.
While taking that extra time, I stumbled upon a disconcerting find. There's a rusty chain hanging in a tree in the back yard. Maybe a peach tree. I always thought it was although I wasn't usually here during the spring and never saw it blossom so I sometimes doubted the veracity of the claim that it was, in fact, a peach tree. But as sis pointed out, it was a lonely tree without a friend, so it couldn't have blossomed, right? Right.
Back to my point. I was walking around the lonely peach tree (we're gonna' call it a peach tree,) and all of a sudden I looked up through the branches into the blue, blue sky and I saw this shocking sight. A rusty chain had been wrapped around a high limb and was hanging from the tree. I have to admit the sight actually gave me chills. My imagination is too active and while I didn't conjure anything exactly sinister, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why there should be a chain hanging from this tree!
So I did what you would have done. I called my mom. Who calmly said, "Mom hung plants in that tree." So she did. Sally, my maternal grandmother, had The Green Thumb to end all green thumbs and for someone who didn't have her own greenhouse, she had more things growing in and around her house than anyone I've ever known. Including, it seems, heavy things that needed the strength of a chain.
I thought that was just crazy! Why wouldn't she have gotten some nice subtle "s" hooks and hung her plants accordingly? I've alluded in my blog before (okay, sometimes blatantly asserted,) that my grandmother was not the most mentally stable of women. Loved her - no doubt. But sometimes? Yea... there were issues. So for a while I moved around her home last night considering why on earth she would have chosen to use a chain (which was no doubt not at all rusty all those years ago,) for hanging plants - even heavy ones as I've come to recall she had in that tree, now that the memories are reappearing in dribs and drabs.
But here's the thing. Sally was a practical woman, too. Both my grandparents were. These days we have the Home & Garden channel telling us which products are practical for which use and aesthetic quality. But not only was 24/7 decorating and gardening advice not piped into our homes back then, I doubt either of my grandparents would have cared too awful much what those people had to say, anyway. I can imagine her now. "I need to hang this pot. It's huge and heavy. Amos - go get me a chain!" Why go buy some new product when you have a perfectly good chain laying around?
More disconcerting than the chain, before I knew what had happened in the tree, was the discovery of these rusty pieces of metal. I would have said wire but it's way heavier than that. Rods. Heavier than the pieces of a clothes hanger, although stiff like that. Here and there in the tree are these rusty pieces that have grown into the tree and which must have been a part of the elaborate system of support my maternal grandmother used for presenting the gloriousness of her botanical gifts. I think back now and remember the plants. They're still there in my memory.
No plants now, though. Now instead, I have "photography projects" for helping me to refine my focusing abilities. In spite of my sadness for the lonely peach tree which not only has the burden of not being able to bear fruit, it's got these rusty appendages. I'm not here to rescue trees. That's not my point. But I do wonder if there's something that should be done. Would it be good for the tree to have these items removed? Would I kill myself trying to get them out? Would removal cause greater damage to the tree than the original additions themselves have caused? I do not know. And today is not the day to find out.
But I will tell you this. I've decided to start a new photo gallery section to accompany the blog posts I write about my time here. (Not today. Today I'll just post a few images here, and I'll add them later, once I've actually done more of that work I keep going on about.) My curiosities, my fears, my discoveries (my obsessions) - I'm planning to write about some of these here in my blog. And sometimes they will be accompanied by photos. Here's to improved shots over time!