It is interesting how one thing leads to another, usually in an unpredictable manner. As an example, two summers ago I was nursing a very sore knee, while my wife, son, and his family were walking one of the Pierce Cedar Creek trails. I was in the parking lot, sitting on the door sill of our van, and walking no more than a few feet to take pictures (mostly close-ups) of the native plant gardens that make up the berm and decorate the parking lot median. A lady, who I came to realize was Michelle Skedgell, the Pierce executive director, thoughtfully came over to me, as an old guy sitting on a van door sill can mean maybe there’s a problem, and started chatting.
She asked if I did a lot of photography around Pierce, and if so would I mind sharing some of them. I said sure, and she said she had a long term dream for a photo project, and would my wife and I like to talk about it with her. So we set up a meeting and the four season Pierce Cedar Creek Photo project was born. We’re grateful to Michelle for her idea, which was to take various shots around the PCC grounds, each shot being the same view of the four seasons. If there is anything that is an example of one thing leading, somewhat predictably and yet spontaneously, to another, it is the progression of the seasons. However, while they progress through time, they still return, always to the point where they began. But every thing is always changing, decaying, dying, growing, evolving, going in unexpected directions. This was driven home dramatically as we made our way to the several photo shot sites we picked to capture images every three months. Some were easy to find, and some were difficult or impossible. Once a tree fell over Cedar Creek, completely eliminating a shot. Sometimes a shot that was beautiful in one season was completely nondescript in the next season, so it became a single season shot, of aesthetic necessity.
Looking back, what do I think? This project seemed to uncover something profound, in the final analysis. That is, that the passage of time is not simply the movement of a clock’s hands, nor the turning over of calendar pages. The passage of time is actually a palpable thing, measured in subtle or dramatic changes; the birth of the new, and the death of the old. What became quite moving, as we went along, was that this passage could be captured with a camera as long as you’re willing to keep going back to the scenes, humbly, as on a pilgrimage. Nature unveils that passage of time through the changes it reveals, but it requires patience, and a lot of walking! By the way, all that walking got my knee completely better, no surgery and no medication, fortunately. Nature seems always to make regeneration possible, as the forest, wetlands, and prairies slowly and majestically reveal.