Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Looking at Life Through a New Lens

Me and Erin and our trees.
You know I like trees. Not long ago, back on November 18th, I wrote a post titled Tree Love about losing a tree in our yard to high winds.

Over the years I’ve even painted a couple of tree pictures while at craft events with friends and family. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned about Mark Hirsch and That Tree from Amy, our events coordinator at the LeClaire Community Library, where I work.

Mark Hirsch, a photographer from Wisconsin, came to the Quad Cities to share his story about taking a picture of the same tree every day for a whole year.

What’s even more remarkable is that every picture was taken with his iPhone 4S- not his big, complicated every-gadget-included work camera. His work has been widely viewed my millions of people over the internet and was featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show last July.

Lucky for me, Mark Hirsch was presenting at the library on an evening I was scheduled to work. Unlucky for me was that his presentation would take place in the community room- not in the main library- where I would be. Still, I was excited and proud that our little small-town library had the opportunity to host something so Big Time. After the presentation people came into the library all abuzz about Mark’s inspirational story. They said it was so much more than just him showing photos of his tree.

Again, luckily for me, Mark Hirsch had another presentation to give at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport and I was going to be able to attend.

So last night, Tim and I went to the Figge to see Mark Hirsch and That Tree.

And it was inspiring.

And his photographs were something else. The word “beautiful” doesn’t cut it; it’s not a strong enough word. They were stunning and striking. These are two much better words to describe his work.

Hirsch, as he called himself, was in a horrific car accident that left him with a head injury that should have killed him. He survived but was told his recovery would take a very long time and that full recovery may not happen.  He did recover fully, with the help of an old Bur Oak tree.

Me reading That Tree by Mark Hirsch.
He shared some of his photos and the stories of how he got each picture, but his central message was to always persevere. To be optimistic. To make it a good day. To set goals and meet them. To do something that makes yourself happy. To not burn your bridges… you may need them one day. To be open to happy accidents. To look closely, to be quiet, to take your time. To look at your world from different perspectives- both literally and figuratively. To have passion for life.

An old oak tree showed him the way back to life and he shared his lessons with us.

Let’s all go outside and hug our trees. And while we’re at it, let’s be thankful for another day.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.


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