To be honest, I’ve kind of taken trees for granted. I like them, sure. I appreciate them, of course. I notice when they’re not there, and I very much enjoy them when they are. But that’s really about as far as I’ve taken it. Now, after hearing about an intriguing new book by Iowa resident Joan Klostermann-Ketels, I feel quite unimaginative.
Klostermann-Ketels, a poet, musician and corporate exec to boot, has recently authored a book titled PersonaliTrees, and I think it’s just fascinating. It’s a photo album, really, of … trees. But it’s more than that. It’s an exercise in creativity, a thoughtful appreciation of nature and, well ― I’ll let her tell you, by quoting from her Web site: www.beingofsoundspirit.com
“I have dedicated myself to photographing trees in the winter, early spring and late fall—after most have lost their leaves. At those times, they are exposed and vulnerable and yet willing to show us their innermost spirits. Trees are perhaps the most honest expressions of life on earth. In their bare bones, messages of great angst and extreme pain are expressed with the greatest dignity. Their sense of humor is always present. They love life and accept every stage and condition of their experience. They love to tell stories.
"Trees bear an uncanny resemblance to human forms. Eyes, noses and mouths laugh out loud with surprise, delight and sometimes even horror. Appendages reach to the sky, frozen in a fit of life that would be as animated as any cartoon if only we could perceive time in the same way they do. Instead, we can only stand and imagine the forces that created the shapes we see in the snapshot of the moment. It is up to us to slow ourselves to a tempo that allows us to interpret their messages.”
In her photos, trees offer their versions of human emotions. She gives them names and personal characteristics, and when you put name and photo together, it's worthy of a double-take. I was a doubter, but really, you should check it out - the site offers plenty of sample pictures.
Now I find myself walking down my block, studying many of the trees as I pass by. It really is a way to stretch those creative muscles ― and appreciate nature along the way. You may never look at a tree the same way again.