Love, Up Close

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This is the very first image I posted on my blog: my original header.

Initially I hesitated to use it because the Monocacy, the polluted but lovely southern river for which this blog is named, is nowhere to be found. Ultimately, however, that is one of the very reasons that the picture is so appropriate. A river is more than the water that flows into it; it is the land that surrounds it. It is the land that determines its health. It is on the land that I find most of the trash that pollutes its waters.

But this image is really about the heart spray-painted on the trunk of the dead tree. Ostensibly it is vandalism, a sort of trashing of nature, but the symbol and its underlying message imbues it with its own sort of beauty. It also reflects my feeling toward this small part of a much larger ecosystem. This heart on this tree is on a small island on a small river (the Monocacy) that flows into a larger river (the Potomac) that flows into a delicate bay (the Chesapeake) that opens into an ocean (the Atlantic). This space is so much more than it seems. And so is the tree.

Let’s look a little more closely. A heart:

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And more closely still. An imperfect heart:

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And even closer. A mere smudge:

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Or something more. This heart on this dead tree is the marker for an entrance to a whole other world. It hides the holes made by birds looking for insects looking for food looking for a home. If I were a microbiologist, I could say more, but even my limited knowledge allows me to appreciate the complexity of the life provided by this rotting trunk.

And appreciation is what this blog is about. Appreciating the ugly in order to appreciate the beautiful. Appreciating the moments that make a small life big. Appreciating the life around me so easily overlooked. Appreciating how often things are not quite as simple as they seem. Appreciating a world of writers, thinkers and artists who may not think of themselves as any of these things.

Love from the Monocacy.

4 thoughts on “Love, Up Close

  1. Tim Wheeler

    Am I just seeing things? In the photo showing “an imperfect heart,” it looks like there’s a face peering out from the red paint.

    Like

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