The Spring Sycamore
"We want to know all about their leaves and colors and growth. But we also want to know who they are when stripped of the surface show. You can see the underlying essence only when you strip away the busyness, and then some surprising connections appear."
-- Ann Lamott, Bird By Bird, 1994
Early spring days are bright. The sun is high in the sky with strong, direct light and there are no leaves yet on the trees to cast any shadows. And so everything just looks bright and crisp and clear.
This sycamore is on my regular cycling loop and I see it 4-5 times a week, every week, throughout the year. I see it on sunny days like this, and I see it on cloudy days. I see it in the summer covered in leaves, and I see it in the winter against the flat grey sky. But I think it's at its grandest in the early spring with the strong sun lighting the stark white branches against the clear blue sky. To me, the unique character of the tree comes from the twisted branches, mostly white, but with some grey/green mottling from the peeling layers of bark.
A couple weeks ago, on a bike ride on a sunny day, I made a mental note to photograph this tree - in the morning, on a cloudless blue sky day, in the early Spring. I have hundreds of mental "photographs" of this tree in my mind - each slightly different from the hundred times I ride by in a year. I knew the spring conditions would show the sycamore the way I see it in my mind. It would "strip away the busyness" and show "the underlying essence" of the tree.
And the best news of all... there is no snow in this photograph!!
Enjoy Spring - it is finally here!