The country is filled with celebrations: The Inauguration of the President, the Birthday of Martin Luther King, JR, the 50th Anniversary of the “I have Dream” speech, the 49ers heading to the super bowl and the party to mark my 25 years in ministry. Okay. Maybe the last one is not a national or regional celebration, but the herchurch community sure knows how to create a hoopla.
Contemplating all these commemorations I am drawn to the symbol of the Tree of Life and especial it’s historical connections to the divine feminine. For us in the bay area winter is a time of pruning and the plum tree next to A Woman’s Eye Gallery is being clipped by our gardeners. Her branches are being cut way back in the hopes that they will again reach toward the sun producing new buds that will promise spring blossoms.
But the wild trees that are not trimmed have those wonderful million twig fingers pointing in every direction. At least that is how I saw the oaks on the hillsides of Mt. Diablo. There are no leaves yet, just twisted bare branches.
After photographing one such tree in beautiful morning light I still wasn’t satisfied with the way the capture expressed my experience with the tree. So I inverted the color resulting in the image you see here (a simple step in Photoshop – control I). This rendering expresses what I image when I sing Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s third stanza of “Hark! Wisdom’s Urgent Cry”:
Come to the Tree of Life; She honors our embrace.
Her fruit our deepest powers revive; She crowns us with Her grace.
The Tree of Life stands tall; Her beauty fills the earth.
Her radiant flowers never fall; Her fullness brings new birth.
Since I am changing colors I might as well move on to removing color altogether. That is what I did with this familiar site on Haight Street. This area continues to recreate 1970 scenes and some limbs and legs, mostly belonging to people, are still planted there from that decade of love, peace and pot. I am not sure how long these legs have been sticking out this window at Haight and Ashbury, but long enough to be downright petrified.
Although the red shoes are striking against a blue sky I am offering you an altered version. Not from psychedelic mushrooms but from a black and white conversion method. We don’t see or think in black and white but entering a scene without color can be dramatic and mind-bending. I offer this image, via drug-free methods, to intensify our commemorations and hooplas!