Monday, September 5, 2011
Goldenrod below Mount Mitchell
I had an experience yesterday that reinforced what I think about photography being a tool for attention. I went up to Mount Mitchell with Margot to pick blueberries - not many this year - and I purposely didn't bring my camera on our walk. I just wanted to see things without the mediation of the camera. Plus, it was raining and about to rain. On the way back, I was struck by this incredible view with flowers in the foreground against misty ridges partially obscured by fog. So, after we got to the car, I got my camera and walked back to the view, which, by now, had been replaced by socked-in fog. Alas. So I walked on a bit and came across a row of goldenrod along the edge of the path - which I suddenly saw anew as I was photographing them. What are these? Goldenrod? Are all goldenrod the same? What's the plant family? Who eats goldenrod? Etc. On returning home, I looked them up to get the Latin name and was amazed to find that there are 39 DIFFERENT SPECIES of goldenrod that grow in the Carolinas! 39! Of just goldenrod! I'm pretty sure the ones I was seeing were Solidago cutisii, very similar to the blue-stemmed goldenrod. If I'm wrong, I hope Don McLeod will visit me in a dream and tell me.
Anyway, my point is that, though we don't need any more images, the camera helped me stop and see and attend and name and wonder and burst with pleasure at the misty world. Isn't that, after all, what we're after?
Oh, yeah, by the time I returned to the scene that was the impetus for walking back with my camera, the fog had cleared, and I got the view I was originally struck by.