Favorite Trees

This is the first of a series I've considered for quite some time, doing with trees what I did with the "Botanicals" series, local lilies and irises found scattered about Shreveport's "Highland" neighborhood yards.
"Trees" preceeded the other series conceptually, already a serious consideration for years and only just recently becoming practical. This specimen stands in a lawn aside Fairfield Avenue, to the east a few blocks south of Kings Highway. For most of the year, it's totally unremarkable; no different from any other tree in the area, but as I drove along one October day, I was struck immediately by the bright hue its leaves had taken with the onset of cooler weather. A few blocks past, I realized that those leaves might not last, and that I'd let too many opportunities pass already, so I took a turn and made my way back to find a good place to shoot it. I wound up having to drive by several times comparing angles, only to realize that the light through the overcast wouldn't allow what I'd hoped for. Faced with this, I drove off on my way as before, except that only moments later, there came a break in the clouds as though I'd been called back. I knew my position and drove back, grabbed the camera, except that now, breaks in the clouds altered back an forth, opening and closing the almost beam-like illumination on the bright yellow leaves I was hoping to capture. Finally, for a moment, the clouds, the color of leaves and angle of the sun all offered subtle contributions, allowing the first portrait for my series of trees.
At age twenty-two, stocking shelves in the back of a office supply store, some days after work, I would race to a pond hidden in the woods outside of town to relax for a little while floating around just before sunset as the air began to cool, not realizing there'd be many days in the future when I'd wish I could return.
These pears sat on the table one bright day, silhouetted against the kitchen window and the red clay drive in front of the house. Those days, I sometimes paged through a Thesaurus playing with words and phrases, then I typed them up as poetry. I aspired to produce series' of signed, numbered fine prints for sale from a catalog, esteemed and sold by galleries and decorators. I had only to be discovered by someone magically overwhelmed and capable of recognizing the marketing opportunity my work presented. Apparently, there are lots of other artists with the same idea...
An overheated van provided an ecology lesson at the expense of this poor mockingbird. My lemon of a van was once again behaving strangely, so I added more anti-freeze, hoping to forestall another blown head gasket. I happened to spill a tiny amount and quickly went inside for a bucket of water to rinse or at least, dilute it. I'd read that it can poison some animals unable to tell the difference from water. Delayed by a phone call, I returned with the water to find that already, this mockingbird's thirst had brought him to sip some of the chemical under the van and quickly die on the sidewalk just outside my studio door, some of the fluid still draining from his beak—all this in less than five minutes.
As I stood there saddened, it was easy to recognize that this abrupt experience profoundly emphasized the impact a common, seemingly benign substance has on our surroundings. Obviously, I'm much less casual about my impact now; reminded to remain so whenever I see or hear a mockingbird. I photographed it to make sure I could pass this lesson along to others. Poor fragile, innocent little being.