Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Missed Sycamore Shots

Sometimes my photo expeditions just fail.

On Saturday at my parents’ farm, I  walked out in front of the house to capture some views of the little pond, about 100 yards from the house. 

The tall grasses rustled, and my stomach did that tightening thing where I might think supper didn’t agree with me, while my heart lub-dubs like it wants a pacemaker. Really, it’s just fear.        

Too riled to get any closer to the tall grass and lurking cougar, bobcat or nothing except the wind, I snapped a shot of the pond with a power pole’s guy wires in the foreground. Lovely. 

Deciding to capture a photo of the beloved sycamore tree in the back yard, I traipsed closer to the house, and its safety.

In my fear and shakiness, I snapped closeups of leaves, crisping at the edges with the telltale signs of autumn. They span the width of both my hands. Nice shot? No, blurry. 

I shot between the overhanging branches, through the sort of splotched yellow and tan-gray of sycamore bark, beyond the aging and now grassy livestock lots, to the outlying, low-lying bottom fields. What a scene. But, not to be idyllically captured.

Disappointed, on the drive home, I thought about if I turned an oh, well moment into a bit of unnecessary sadness. My favorite tree. I wanted to capture it. Yet, I know I’ve missed other shots, and I can laugh at myself over this.

But. My mom gave me my old Creative Writing class Critter Sitters folder from high school that day. In my office Sunday, I thumbed through the pages, and was delighted to find much precious work from my senior year.

And a sweet surprise, not a coincidence, a God-orchestrated discovery.

In my legible, but not artistic, cursive, I found a poem about the sycamore tree. What a smile that brought to my face, and my heart.

A two-fold gift, from my generous, kind God. In addition to the poem itself, I received confirmation and understanding of why missing that shot brought me a touch of sadness. My attachment to and appreciation of that tree truly is woven into my history.

Not very many kids of the 70s and before who sang the ‘Zaccheus was a wee little man song,’ actually played under a sycamore tree. Not all of them pretended he was in their trees in their backyards, and Jesus was right there calling Zaccheus down to invite himself over for a little din-din. But I did, often.

God gave me a gift in finding that poem  — immature and unpolished as it is.

God is in what may seem like little things, minor happenstances. And that’s good for us.

©Helene Bergren. All Rights Reserved.

                   (Poem posted in a separate blog entry.)

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