For the month of January I’m holding a contest based around trees. To enter all you need to do is link a photo you’ve taken that fits the theme to my Facebook page and on the last day of the month, I’ll be putting together a little parcel with all sorts of tree goodies and mailing it off to one lucky winner!
I’m a bit late on explaining why I chose trees as my contest theme (of which I plan to do more) but better late than never right!?
I grew up and still live in a rather small town, built in a valley between two mountain ranges that seemingly go on forever, I never noticed growing up how much I valued all of the nature that surrounded me, I just took it for granted and kept doing my homework and watching cartoons. Then once I hit my late teens and early 20’s something changed. I started to look at the endless expanse of green in a new light. I travelled to bigger cities and saw them in a new light too, I saw all the grey….all the glass and concrete and cars and all I wanted to see was green again. Once while on a cross-country road trip, I remember looking out the window to see the prairie fields and the endless sky and not a tree in sight…for hours it seemed I didn’t see anything that even resembled a tree, that was the first time I felt homesick.
I remember the exact day that I realized that the forest would be a place of solitude, reflection, and inspiration for me. I was jobless and had found myself feeling depressed and frustrated and getting sucked in to watching horrible daytime television in the comfort of my air conditioned basement suite. Then all of a sudden, I felt a sudden urge to just be out in nature, anywhere…just out. I grabbed my journal, a granola bar and apple and hopped on my mountain bike and within a few minutes I was away from everything manmade and surrounded entirely by nature. I sat in the warm summer grass and wrote. I wrote about how mad I was that I couldn’t find my passion, how disconnected I felt from the rest of the world, and how I just wished I could feel alive again. I went back the next day and rode a little longer, and then the day after that I tried some new trails and pretty soon I was spending hours every evening exploring every inch of the 9,000 acre community forest adjecent to my town. I found my place to be free.
A few years later when I started training for my first marathon I was looking for long stretches of running routes to carry me through the 20km runs I was doing every weekend. I remembered the community forest and the old logging road that winds it’s way from one end to the other and pretty soon it became once again, my nightly ritual. I’d run from one end to the other and back and when I turned my music off all I could hear was the crunch of my feet on the dirt, smell the wildflowers blooming in the fields and feel the warmth of the sun hitting my arms and neck through the breaks in the trees. Again I found myself thinking about my future, planning what I wanted to do with my life and feeling my body changing physically and mentally. The forest became yet another place for me to be free.
When I started to become interested in photography I would venture out into the forest, which is now about a 50metre walk from my door. When I step off the pavement and into the trails I feel like I’m leaving the outside world and entering into a space that I’m supposed to be in. It’s hard for me to explain but I look out at the trees and grass and birds (and sometimes bears) and I feel more inspiriation in that simple glance than I do spending days at home thinking. I feel that my thoughts are linked to the leaves and pinecones and that when I’m in the midst of all that organic goodness I’m recharging my brain and soul.
So yes….that’s why I chose trees. Because they make me feel alive and they make me feel like I’ve taken a deep breath of inspiration.
What do you consider to be your place of inspiration?