marcoclicks: Blog en-us (C) marcoclicks (marcoclicks) Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:01:00 GMT Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:01:00 GMT marcoclicks: Blog 120 80 Leaning trees  

Leaning trees, Prindle Pond, 2017


Pond is a deceptive word for me - I think of a relatively small body of water, like Jamaica Pond near my home. Prindle Pond, on the other hand, is considerably larger. We started to walk around it but then thought better of it, given its size and our time. 

I hadn't had my fill so the next morning, I walked back and found this lovely spot. At least it seemed lovely to me - perhaps the trees, leaning ever so much closer to the water - had a different perspective.

What a blessing is this calm body of water. I especially liked knowing that I couldn't see all of it - too big! And I liked that the houses that dotted its edges did not overpower the sense of quiet majesty of this space. I wonder how many hidden spaces there are like this.

I'll come back again...


]]> (marcoclicks) autumn tree water Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:00:27 GMT


The time of heightened color is here. It joined us slowly this year, creeping in among the warmth and dry weather of an extended summer. If you weren't looking carefully, you might have missed the beginning, but it is clearly here now. !

We celebrate the transformation of trees, this shift away from green to a riot of yellows, reds, oranges and more. Yet this palette comes to us with another story, a different sensibility, if we continue to look carefully. As glorious as the color can be, these leaves are injured, they are dying.

So is it their death that we are celebrating?

In a way, I suppose it is. Good to notice; good to consider the message that has for we humans!


]]> (marcoclicks) abstract leaves rot tree Sat, 28 Oct 2017 13:35:22 GMT

Moss on tree, Arnold Arboretum, 2017

Walking through the Arboretum, coming upon such a generous wealth of growing things, it’s hard to decide where to put my attention – so much to look at, smell, touch! This day I am moved to look closely, in smaller than usual frames. It is a way of generating mystery, bewilderment and that gives me pleasure!

Without any indication of scale or context, we might be unsure of what we are looking at. Rather than need to figure it out right away, let’s sit with that confusion, not fight to find what it “is” but notice how it makes us feel.  So I look and I can imagine a journey to some alien terrain, uneven, lush, profoundly unfamiliar. Is it rocky and hard, overgrown and soft, what would walking there be like?

It is a momentary delight to shift our perception to imagine what is clearly not so. When we are done, and we are back with our familiar thoughts, we might think, while it has some elements of landscape, it seems more likely to be a growth on a rock or a tree. I know we'd be right but we are wiser for the pleasure of our invention, no matter how temporary.

]]> (marcoclicks) abstract root rot tree Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:27:13 GMT

Roots and wall, Jamaica Plain, 2017

Clearly these old roots and this concrete wall have been in relationship for quite some time. These living roots, so put upon by human behavior and yet so implacable, are slowly overtaking the retaining wall. It won’t happen in a day or a year and if humans intervene it may never happen. Yet, to look at this scene right now, you’d have to say the roots have wrestled the wall to a draw. What happens tomorrow, well, let's wait and see.

Truly, this is about the boundary - between living and dead, between industrial and organic. That’s the confusing place and the place that might benefit most from our attention. Perhaps we need to temper our black-and-white thinking to allow for greater comfort at the boundaries. That would require a greater understanding of the other and might lead, in various parts of our lives, to great compassion.

Yes, wait and see.

]]> (marcoclicks) abstract concrete root tree wall Sun, 08 Oct 2017 18:05:47 GMT
Urban shards OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I was walking to JP Center and encountered this broken flowerpot. It is clearly beyond what epoxy can reasonably repair. I judge that it is mass produced and thus of little intrinsic value. What would have to change to think of this as an artifact? To see something inherently interesting in jagged chunk of fired clay?If this had been dug up in some remote archeological adventure would that change how I saw it? If these pieces of clay were buried for ages and weathered by wind or soil, would that shift my sense of what they are?

I've no answers today. My guess is that when the sanitation truck came by these were tossed in and that was the end of it, even if it wasn't. These things last for a long time, even when we choose not to think of them. 


]]> (marcoclicks) abstract broken clay Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:03:43 GMT
Cut down  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Walking on well-kept trails in dark woods, this is not a stump I’m inclined to rest on. The notch that guided its fall won’t make for a comfortable perch. I do stop to notice it, though, and to make up a simple story of its life.

With its attention devoted to sunlight far above, the slow, steady footsteps over the years must have registered little. Likely these increased over the years, perhaps more noticeable. Yet still it focused on sunlight. And what crisis brought its fall? Wind? Disease? People? I don't know. Yet as I stand here I sense that this stump didn’t give up easily. Seems to me that's in the nature of trees.

]]> (marcoclicks) hampshire new trees woods Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:37:16 GMT
Not straight  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

You wouldn't necessarily know that this scene is in a relatively isolated state forest. This meandering walkway sits on top of a small dam on Benedict Pond. Quiet in the morning, loud with day camp laughter during the warmth of the day.

The interplay of quiet and noise is echoed by the interplay of rippled water and rigid rails. There is much here to notice, even before the laughter begins.


]]> (marcoclicks) garden grass light weeds Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:15:58 GMT
Simple grass  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Can there be drama in weeds, in the interplay of species or of light and dark? How can so much be going on in a simple slice of a hedgerow? How can there be such grace, such lightness?

I don't pretend to know. All I am sure of is the pleasure of looking; all I can think of is the blessing of being surrounded by such simple, satisfying beauty.


]]> (marcoclicks) garden grass light weeds Sun, 06 Aug 2017 13:25:18 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

It is the time of gardens, gardens that are coming into their own after sun and heat and rain and chill have played across their faces. Walking through a well-loved garden is a blessing in July. Look carefully and listen and you may learn something about what sits behind the urge to plant and harvest.

Your looking will need to go deep – it’s not simply evaluating the beans or tomatoes, seeing how thoroughly the plots have been weeded. I love to look in the hidden spots, out of the well-tilled, well-travelled areas: where the compost is tended, where the tools are kept. And it’s as much about listening as looking.

Listen to what the compost might tell you about the garden’s future; listen to what well-used tools might whisper about caring and respect. This can become an exercise in observing devotion, a commitment beyond this season’s crop, an opportunity to connect with a cycle much greater than we are. All from a walk in a garden.


]]> (marcoclicks) decay garden tools Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:14:16 GMT
Home town  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Photographs can partial stories. This one, for instance, doesn't document the crowd that just got off an in-bound trolley. Who knows where they were going; who knows right now, in this image, where they are? It is silent and people are absent.

Looking at this image, it would be wise to ask what happened just before or just after it was taken. Clean and quiet it is now; what is was or will be is the mystery.

]]> (marcoclicks) fenway green line urban Sat, 15 Jul 2017 21:01:09 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Sometimes you see things that don't immediately resolve into familiar objects. I've seen lichen growing on concrete that looks like landscapes or tree roots that look like painfully distorted body parts. After the initial double-take, I can identify the object for what it really is. Which, for me at least, raises the question, what am I REALLY looking at? Which is the truth here: my first glance or my studied analysis?

In this case, the pattern doesn't resemble any familiar scene, at least nothing that comes immediately to my mind. (If you see something, do please let me know!) Yet the more I look at this, the more I feel it SHOULD be familiar to me. I can keep looking at it, enjoying the textures and color shifts and that small dash of yellow. 

What it is, what it represents, that's somehow less important, the more I look. Hum...

]]> (marcoclicks) Woods Hole abstract boat color Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:43:21 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Yes, it's small. Not far off the shore with billowing clouds overhead, a dinghy no more than six feet long. Calm waters, brilliant colors. Does the boat register, much less its occupants? Three souls out for an adventure, can you see them?

It helps me to notice what a small part of this planet we sometimes are, to see the scale of clouds and sea next to a dinghy. It helps me to remember perspective. I can imagine the laughter and excitement of those in the boat. I can imagine a natural world not the least concerned about them.

So on a calm day with bright sun, I am close to those on the water and those natural elements that surround them. 

]]> (marcoclicks) Hole Woods boat color sea water Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:38:27 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

This hasn't been a time of much shooting. This year spring has been undocumented by me. This shot is from last spring. Dare I say that one spring looks much like another? Seems a bit cynical but then again leaves are leaves and they grow as they grow, much the same this year as last.

So this image will stand in for all the shots I've not taken. It will remind me that even without my documentation, trees pass through an almost infinite number of shades of ;yellow and green. They are a record of the diversity of colors and textures that make up a forest.

I will treasure that which I see but don't record with camera and endeavor to stay connected without recording everything!

]]> (marcoclicks) color leaves spring trees Tue, 30 May 2017 14:04:51 GMT
It is come...  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

How many years have I had the same reaction? How many times has March and then April disappointed me, professed to be the coming of the warm time only to have late rain and wind and sometimes even snow descend?

Yes, it happens with some regularity. New England, yes.

Yet eventually the warmth outweighs the chill, the miraculous buds transform into common leaves, so many of them. And we settle into humdrum summer. Yet let's slow down a moment and notice the array of colors, the beginning that prefigures the colors of fall. 

It's worth slowing down and noticing, humbly, how quickly something that is truly extraordinary becomes common.

]]> (marcoclicks) color leaves spring trees Sat, 06 May 2017 19:36:47 GMT
A bit late  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

The energy I have to put into shooting has been pretty well consumed by the book I've just finished for Desmond. He's going to be three soon and I'm following up my opus on construction equipment with another volume on trains and buses. So forgive me if I reach back to the dark times to find an image to include here - I've not shot much other than Desmond and the things he likes to look at.

The edge of Jamaica Pond is always interesting, especially this area, by the "beach." And I remember the day. It was calm and cold and clear, the sort of day that seems sharp enough to cut. Just a dusting of snow on the ground and no ice on the Pond so it wasn't very cold. Yet to my eye, this speaks of that cold and generally dark time. 

Now, as the leaves are opening, it's a bit incongruous to look at this scene. Perhaps that's a good thing!

]]> (marcoclicks) Jamaica Pond cold ice water Fri, 21 Apr 2017 19:27:28 GMT
Did you notice?  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

I walked toward these tracks with my brother, thinking it would serve as a useful shot in a book I'm beginning to work on. The geometry was right, even if the ties were old and in need of repair. These weren't working tracks, I didn't think. So their condition was less of an issue. 

But as I got closer, I realized there was little here to draw the eye, other than the obvious recession into the distance. A bit hackneyed, I suppose. Yet there I was with an intention and a camera. So I took the shot. And here it is, recording a gray, early spring morning, fog lifting, buds still hiding. 

]]> (marcoclicks) Jamaica Pond cold ice water Sun, 09 Apr 2017 17:49:36 GMT
Tree in snow  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

The walk to the Pond takes us across the site of the Hancock Mansion, long fallen into decay and removed, sadly, from this place. What is left, surrounding that flat and empty mere lawn, are several ancient sycamore trees. They must have been particularly majestic when the mansion was lived in. They are so close to where the building was that one can imagine climbing out a window onto a huge white and gray tree limb.

It's hard for me to see the trees without imagining a lived-in mansion, visible only in my mind's eye. Yet in some respects I can appreciate the trees better without the house present, especially as it was in its last several decades when the graffiti obscured the graceful proportions of the place. 

I have the same internal conversation every time I walk past this place. What a wonder and a blessing that it has transformed into a very different kind of special place. Let us all hope to be as flexible.

]]> (marcoclicks) Jamaica Pond cold ice water Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:17:24 GMT
Thawing on a cold day  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Coming upon among the coldest days of the season in early March is surprising at best and demoralizing at worst. My patience for cold weather is getting tried earlier in the season each year and now when the wind cuts through my warmest layers, I am reminded of the colder days I lived through years ago. Small comfort, I know.

So I've made myself go outside on those cold days, go out bundled up so that I face whatever the cold blusters my way. And I remember this image from the warmer days of last week. The ice was beginning to thaw and the sky was gray. What a contrast to the cold we sit in now and the brilliant, clear skies.

Today, in the warmest part of the day, I will venture out, yet again bundled, and see what I can see. I know that no matter what there's something to learn and see out there.

]]> (marcoclicks) Jamaica Pond cold ice water Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:31:40 GMT
The pleasure of winter  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

It’s about borders, boundaries, that’s why I pay attention to the shoreline, to the edge where the water and the earth touch. In winter that edge is ambiguous as snow hides where one begins and the other ends. After a lackluster snowfall, there is a stronger distinction between areas of water and of ice. Undulating lines of melting ice or freezing water confuse their boundaries and create a complex image, if we are looking carefully. What predominates is texture and contrast rather than color. Color is easy and in its absence we are forced to rely on less familiar cues. And anything that causes me - helps me - to look more carefully is a blessing.

The pleasures of winter…

]]> (marcoclicks) Jamaica Pond ice trees water Thu, 02 Feb 2017 01:36:59 GMT
Plants in death  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Walking in the garden at this time of year is often a revelation. I am rarely ready for the range of interesting sights that sit there, ignored in this inhospitable time. In fact, it usually takes an effort for me to go there, so unlikely a place is it for visual stimulation in January. Often I go simply to accompany my lover as she gathered some sage or other hardy herb from the remaining plants.

Not so this time. I'm not sure what changed my attitude. Perhaps I recalled the several sweet shots I've taken, usually close-ups of plants both robust and decaying. Perhaps it was that I was tired and the garden was close. Or perhaps I'm remembering the dignity and beauty of dying plants. 

This tumble-down impossibly random assemblage greeted me, waited for me and my camera. I did nothing. That's what I love about these shots - when they work well, I've done nothing other than be in the right place at the right time.

]]> (marcoclicks) Paul Gore decay garden prayer Fri, 13 Jan 2017 14:47:16 GMT