Trees and their Stories
I recently decided to start another project for an exhibit I will hang in the fall. Trees came to mind, because I photograph them often, and some of them have great stories. So, I am going to give you a preview of my plan.
The first tree that came to mind is one I photographed a number of years ago. The shot was taken at sunset, facing the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Yes, the tree was dead. But it had a history that it could have told if it had been alive. I had to rely on the memories of local folks who know its significance.
It is located on what is known in Greene County as the Parrott Farm. At the site of the tree was a one-room schoolhouse where the Parrott children and others from nearby homes were educated in the early 1900s. The locals refer to this as the Schoolhouse Field. Two months after I made this image, a large storm blew it down. Here is what remained.
Not far from this location is Westover United Methodist Church on land which was donated by the Parrott/Early families who owned the farm. In 1913, the first wedding took place in that newly created church. After the ceremony the bride took a sprig of hemlock out of her bouquet and planted it in the ground behind the church. This Old Hemlock grew and remains on the property.
Another notable tree was new to me this past year. On a property now owned by Spring Hill Church, which is in Albemarle County, near the Greene County line, there was a tree that grew from a number of shoots, forming an interesing multi-trunked base. It was located near a resting place of the former owners of the farm, now donated to the church.
Not long after I made this image, a microburst, as described by nearby residents, split this tree in half. You can see the multiple trunks that created one tree, but which also led to instability in the storm. It was a big loss to the folks of this church who use this property for spiritual and recreational activities.
More on trees at another time. I wish I knew all of their stories.