I want to tell you a story about a tree. In St. Louis, MO where I live, there is a very large Park named Forest Park. Forest Park is one of the largest parks in a metropolitan city in the United States. It was also the location of the 1904 Worlds fair, which is when this tree was planted. Before we go any further, let me show you this tree.
Here it is.
I first saw this tree as a small child when my parents took me to Forest Park for the day and we had a picnic by the tree. It fascinated me because it had grown up, fallen down, and then grown straight up into a beautiful tree. You figure at that point it was already 63 years old. From the side, it looked like it was crawling along. As the years passed, I got bigger and older and the tree stayed the stunning piece that it was. When I got my first “real” camera at age 17, the tree was now 73. The first thing I did with my Canon AE1 was capture an image of that tree. More time went by and I moved away for a decade, but when I returned I visited the tree and it still looked beautiful; mother natures work of Art.
Then I got into Infrared photography, and once again I had to capture that tree.
I’ve shot that tree in every type of Infrared we offer. And it looks great in each one. It came to mean something to me; kinda like a symbol for life. The tree clearly had experienced a rough start to it’s life, yet it still managed to right itself and persevere. It was like an organic symbol for hope.
When we rolled out the new Infrared this year, Hyper Color, I was excited to have a new type of IR to capture my world with and I made a mental note to shoot the tree next time I got a chance. I got busy, and I put it off. But, it’s not a big deal, that tree is 114 years old, and it’s gonna be there forever, right?
No . . . . . .
. . . . . . . I was wrong.
Today I was in Forest Park with my Hyper Color camera and today was finally the day to capture my tree in Hyper Color.
No . . . . it wasn’t
I thought at first I’d gone to the wrong spot, and then I saw the stump and the reality hit me. As I stood in the area where the tree had been for over a century, I was momentarily overwhelmed by feelings of anger, sadness and then regret.
Some narrow-minded, pencil pushing, bureaucratic, . . . . (expletive deleted) decided to have the tree cut down as a way of revitalizing the area. You know “Out with old, in with the new!”
That was how it was explained to me when I called the Park office. “What’s the big deal? it’s just a tree”
As I walked back to my car I felt like a child that just lost their favorite toy. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not a tree hugger. I’m not ever a tree hand shaker. But this tree was a work of Art and was supposed to be there forever. Now I feel old.
I got into my car and as if to just matters worse, Counting Crows, “Big Yellow Taxi” was on the radio. The lyrics hurt to hear, ” Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone”
As I drove out of the Park I realized that main thing that was bothering me, . . . . the regret. I could have shot that tree last month, or the month before. I was just too busy doing other things. And now I’ll never be able to.
What I took away from this is I need to not “put things off” You shouldn’t either. If you have that perfect place you know would make a great shot; find the time and go shoot it. It’s a great idea to a have a bucket list, but only if you actually complete things on the list.