One of my photographic objectives on this trip was to try and capture as many trees as possible. Mostly southwestern trees. Here in the northeast, most trees have little or no “personality”, in my opinion – they all look much like their neighbors. And few of them (unless they’re diseased or dying) look stressed. But why should they be? Life is good here, even in the wintertime. The soil is generally good, temperatures are moderate, and there’s plenty of water. If you’re a tree, it’s like living at the beach.
Not so in the southwest. Things are just a little tougher there. It may rain or it may not. For months at a time. The soil – if you can call it that – is rocky and sandy. If you were a farmer, you’d move on. If you raised livestock, you’d find some place more hospitable. Life in general is not easily supported in this terrain. For trees or animals or people. All this wide open space exists for a reason. It is, after all, a very large desert. Pretty, but harsh.
But trees have no choice. They survive (or don’t) wherever the seed happens to drop. Sometimes it’s in places that seem impossible, like the steep slope of a canyon wall or high on a cliff where temperature ranges and water availability are serious problems. You and I would quit. Throw in the towel. Head for the nearest valley with a river flowing through it. Or the beach. Somewhere where life is easier.
So our woody friends that survive here – and some do for hundreds or even thousands of years – deserve a little recognition, I think. They may look ragged and scruffy and sometimes even dead, but they hang on to life like nothing I’ve ever seen. Like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep going and going…………