One of the first TreeSpirit images, made with “Grandmother,” the ancient coast live oak in Marin County, CA that first inspired me. She has such a strong, palpable presence; one of those trees that, like giant redwoods, instill wonder and awe in almost everyone, not just tree lovers.
She inspired me to bring fellow tree-lovers into her giant branches, to create scale in the image, showing how she dwarfs us humans. Nudity creates a timeless effect, removing many cultural and temporal cues clothing provides.
It was cold this day, and windy, and the people were cold too. The man highest up was in the most wind and was inspired to hold a dynamic pose just to stay warm. I had met all them that day, just hours earlier, and they have since become good friends — more magic I credit to Grandmother.
I also now understand, by experience, how a human can develop a relationship with a tree, as well-known treesitter Julia “Butterfly Hill,” one of my inspirations, did in her beloved old-growth redwood, “Luna.”
This is something I knew as a child but had half-forgotten. Like many other “Oh, wow!” trees I’ve met in pursuit of TreeSpirit photographs, many local people know her, visit her over the years, and consider her a comforting friend. As do I.