Breathing with Trees
This narrative explores the journey of a lake, as it takes a walk in the body of a man. The lake has its own personality, which longed to experience life from the perspective of humans. We adore and thrive in nature but still we continue to abuse and disregard it; he wants to understand human life and our way of thinking.
To symbolise a connection, between humans and the natural word, I soaked 35mm film in boiled lake water from the lake. Beautiful unique and abstract shapes were created when the chemicals within the lake water mixed with the colour emulsion in the film. Effectively, both me and the lake took the photographs, which symbolises the connection with nature I aimed to represent.
. . .
Breathing with the trees and walking on dry ground, I walk through their canopy; a leafy passage into my new discoveries.
As I gaze up to the sky, the big blue mass of empty space, my usual clear vision of it is distorted by the twisting arms of trees. Draped in Ivy leaves, these branches appear to be waving at me. Saying ‘hello’. Welcoming me onto their land; the land of the dry.
Wondering round, I come across a bench; a dead tree reincarnated as a manmade structure to follow a new purpose that adheres to the needs of humans. When need be, it is sat upon. An unusual concept in my eyes; what’s wrong with sitting on the floor? Despite my negative thoughts, I perch. This perch turns into a ten minute rest, as it is the perfect place for pondering.
As I gape out onto my calming ripples, twinkling in the sunlight, I realise my own beauty and it’s a great view from here. The hand-like trees cling to the water’s edge as if I’m slipping away; grasping at my serene surface. It becomes clear why humans come and sit here; the vision from this bench is one of tranquility and nature. People have a desire to connect or reconnect with the natural outside world, and being present in this scene somewhat fulfils their thirst for nature.
A lonely mallard soaks up the afternoon sun and we exchange a glance of acceptance, as I walk on. Clambering through the trees, I find it hard to adjust to the lack of large open space. The air is still yet vibrant in the middle of the lake. Amongst the sharp shrubbery and overgrown bushes, the atmosphere contrasts to what I know. A pungent smell of woodland undergrowth also clouds my judgement, whilst I peer through the tree bodies out to my glistening own.
It’s rather thrilling though; crunching down on crisp fallen leaves and scrambling through the arms of many plants, as you follow a magical planned out path in your mind, only you can see. Intense escapism.
My refreshed vision of nature from this excitement that comes with walking through a thicket of branches, becomes murky as a reality I know far too well resumes. A bleak and smelly swamp, appears to also be a dumping ground for humans to throw rubbish in. Rusty cans, empty bottles and dirty buckets are the most popular items it seems. I’m used to cigarette butts and empty food packets.
Inconsistency. Some of them love nature, some of them exploit nature, some of them aim to protect us from the exploitation. It feels like a battle rather than a relationship we have: humans and nature. I guess the day will come, when there will be a winner; a champion in the struggle of life in today’s ever-changing society.
But for now, the time has come for me to leave this human experience behind. As I venture back into my body of water, a sunken wooden path catches my eye. This manmade structure has been taken over by the lake. Could this be foreshadowing the future? Maybe one day the trees will breathe with the water and the humans would have destroyed themselves.
. . .