Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn reflections

If a tree turns golden in the forest and no one is there to see it, is it still beautiful?

This philosophical conundrum is perhaps of more import than the old saw about a tree falling and making a sound. Sound waves being physical phenomena, that question is readily resolved. But beauty, being in the eye of the beholder--so it is said--well, that is a question of another order entirely.

Personally, I am satisfied to know that trees turn yellow, red, orange, and brown, whether or not I am around to witness the event. It is all beautiful because it is part of the cycle of life and necessary to a healthy biosphere. On the other hand, I want to be out there to see it!

A more humorous, if perhaps cynical, version of the question might be: If a tree turns golden in the forest and no one is there to photograph it, is it still beautiful?

If I go out without a camera, how will I know I have seen anything? This question was put in my mind rather forcefully today, when I did go out and I did take quite a few pictures that I thought would be beautiful only to discover that there was no memory card in the camera. Yes, it can happen to digital cameras, too!

I had to laugh. What else is there to do?

I also put a in memory card (having several in my bag) and kept shooting.

Here's another thought: If a tree falls in the city and no one gives a damn, is there any hope for the forests?

I love to see trees fallen in the natural areas of the parks. They are signs that urban wilderness is more than a metaphor.

Have you looked at the rivers lately? The water levels are lower than I ever remember them being. The summer's drought is still having an effect. On a recent walk along the Menomonee River Parkway in Wauwatosa, I was able to cross the river at several places by hopping from stone to stone.

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