02 April 2010

the tree with the lights in it

Last winter I went to an Ansel Adams photography exhibit in the Tucson Museum of Art.

This lovely photograph, "Aspens," recalled for me the glory of Annie Dillard's essay "Seeing." I'd like to share the joy with you...

I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I'm still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. . . The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.

photo complements of AnselAdams.com
For more of Annie Dillard, read her essay 'Seeing' or the book it is also part of,
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (among others).


e. del mar said...


Anonymous said...

I like that a lot! :D

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come check it out in my blog!