Silence

August 16, 2017

BW photograph of multiple rocks against a tree trunk.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Pull into the parking lot, turn off the radio, turn off the engine.

BW photograph of side-lit pine bark.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Silence. Total silence.

BW photograph looking south across Wolf Rock.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of Wolf Rock.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

While walking upon the trail, the distant buzzing of the highway traffic inserts itself and grows louder once atop the rocks.

BW photograph of side-lit pine saplings.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That noise subsides as the rocks themselves become a barrier on the walk out.

Take care.

Time

August 14, 2017

BW photograph of an abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Time passes.

Over the years, I drove past this abandoned gas station with a degree of regularity, and each time I would literally say to myself “That is worth photographing-stop.”  Inevitably, I kept going by convincing myself that there would always be another time.

BW photograph of an upturned cigarello rack outside of an abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Eventually, there was (most likely) not going to be any more “times”, so I did stop.

BW photograph of an abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As often happens, the light itself on this particular morning was quite mercurial.

BW photograph of the "Site Available" sign in the abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Look closely at the juxtaposition of the two signs in the window:  “Grab Some Fun!” one shouts.  “Site Available” another proclaims.  Quite a contrast.  Hopefully, when this business was in operation, there was a time when it was fun for the owners and the employees.

BW photograph of a Marlboro sign laying in a parking lot.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That time most certainly passed awhile ago.

It is helpful to recognize and enjoy opportunities when they are presented as they may not be available later.  Time does indeed move on.

Take care.

Rain and Sun

August 1, 2017

BW photograph of two trees during a rain.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Rain…

BW photograph of two trees post rain.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and sun.

BW photograph of trees during a rain.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Rain…

BW photograph of a sunstar following a rain.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and sun.

It is best to find enjoyment in each.

Take care.

Tree, 154 Years Later

July 22, 2017

BW photograph of an old tree stump near Devil's Den in Gettysburg.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The remains of this tree are quite near Devil’s Den, which was the site of ferocious fighting during the Battle at Gettysburg.

I wonder what it looked like in June of 1863.  Perhaps it had not as yet taken root-I did not think to check the tree rings…

Take care.

Sycamore Trees

July 20, 2017

BW photograph of a large piece of sycamore bark up close.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Sycamore trees have always been one of my favourites.  My childhood through young adult developmental stages were lived in houses graced with significantly sized sycamore trees and much time was spent playing with the bark.  I distinctly remember very carefully colouring on some larger pieces-taking great care not to break it into smaller pieces by applying too much pressure.  The bark is, after all, quite brittle.

BW photograph of fallen sycamore tree bark.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is surprising then, that I never really thought about the reasons why the sycamore so readily sheds its bark.  The photographs here were made yesterday, and there was an extraordinary amount of sycamore bark laying about. Enough so that it piqued my interest.

BW photogarph of pine bark up close.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It most certainly appeared that no other species of tree in the area displayed that characteristic.  However, having begun to read The Hidden Lives of Trees:  What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben, I did exactly as the author suggests early in the text-begin to ask questions about the trees encountered.  The one of most immediate interest?  For what reasons was there so much discarded sycamore bark?

Mr. Wohlleben does not directly discuss sycamores,  so I did a search and came up with this explanation.  As of that article’s publication in 2004, there were several theories (with the understanding that a theory is a plausible explanation for observed phenomena) but as yet no clear answer to the question.  Mr. Wohlleben does discuss the importance of photosynthesis in detail, with particular emphasis on the manner by which some trees develop a sense of community around that function.

It is highly recommended that Mr. Wohlleben’s book be given a read.  There was much previously unknown to me regarding the book’s sub-title.  More questions will certainly follow, and I am looking forward to finding some answers; and if not answers, then at least some theories.  Good stuff to have when practicing shinrin yoku.

Finally, on a day when the heat index is around 104-105, the shade provided by sycamores would be most welcome.

Take care.

Antietam

July 19, 2017

BW photograph of a Civil War era flag at Antietam.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Gettysburg may have been the apex of the Civil War, but the Battle at Antietam was the costliest with regard to the human toll suffered on both sides in a single day’s fighting.

BW photograph of a cannon on the Antietam Battlefield.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Some of this was due to the evolution of the weaponry and the lack of sophistication of the battle tactics employed-  writer Shelby Foote emphasizes this point in The Civil War.

BW photograph of the Cornfield at the Antietam Battlefield.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The topography of the battlefield also played a significant role.  The first part of the battle was fought across a cornfield…

BW photograph of the door to the Dunker Chapel, which was a centerpiece of the battle at Antietam.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

close to where the Confederates had camped, which was quite near the Dunker Church.  The Dunkers were pacifists-please use the link to read more.

BW photograph of Bloody Lane at the Anitetam Battlefield.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Above is a photograph of the sunken road that came to be known as Bloody Lane, which formed the second part of the battle.

BW photograph of Burnside Bridge at the Antietam Battlefield-this is from the Union side.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

What is now named Burnside Bridge was the area of the third, and final, battle fought at Antietam.  This view looks across Antietam Creek toward the South’s lines.

BW photograph of Burnside Bridge at the Antietam Battlefield-the Union soldiers crossed in the direction heading toward the hill in the background.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Union soldiers had to cross the bridge and attack up the hill, which is in the background.

BW photograph of the Confederate position at Burnside Bridge.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Confederate soldiers held the high ground; therefore, they had the advantage of being able to fire down upon the attacking Union soldiers, who in turn had to cross the bridge and then fight uphill.  Burnside Bridge is in the background.  Weapons, topography, and tactics.  To which the internalized sense of duty of the soldiers on both sides must be added-that is what makes such a battle possible.

BW photograph of a grave at the Antietam National Cemetery-the soldier was from Wisconsin.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a grave at the Antietam National Cemetery-the soldier was from Maine.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a grave at the Antietam National Cemetery-the soldier was from Rhode Island.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Many of the soldiers who fought there, came from quite a distance.

BW photograph of a grave at the Antietam National Cemetery-the soldier was from West Virginia.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Others, from not as far.  These gravestones are from the Antietam National Cemetery.

Over 23,000 were killed, wounded, or went missing in that single day.

“All war is hell”, and variations on that theme, is a quote attributed to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Take care.

BW photograph of Devil's Den at Gettysburg.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This year marked the 154th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought July 1-3, 1863.  Yesterday morning, I circumnavigated the area encompassed on the second day of the battle.  This walk included the Round Tops, Devil’s Den, the Wheat Field, and a view of the Peach Orchard.  It was still cool, yet the sun was warm and bright in the early morn (a bit before 7:00) when the trek began.   A century-and-a-half ago, it was quite hot on July 2nd when the fighting started around 4:00 in the afternoon.

BW photograph of a rail fence in the early morn at Gettysburg.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a rail fence near the Wheat Field in Gettysburg.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a boulder and some leaves near Little Round Top in Gettysburg.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Episode Five, “The Universe of Battle”, from Ken Burns’ The Civil War, discusses Gettysburg.  By the end of the day on July 3rd, the Union and Confederate armies together had sustained a total of 51,000 casualties:  23,000 for the North and 28,000 for the South.  That is around one-third of all the men who participated in the fighting.  Despite that amount of carnage, this battle, while pivotal, did not end the Civil War.  In fact, the battles worsened.

BW photograph overlooking the battlefield from Little Round Top at Gettysburg.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There is an aura of solemnity that envelopes when visiting Gettysburg.  When standing on the high ground, which was occupied by the Union soldiers, and looking out and down over the area crossed and climbed by the Confederate soldiers, it is possible to visualize the fighting as the battle raged-who did what, where, and when.  It is much more difficult to imagine what it was like to be fighting there.  One of the great values of Mr. Burns’ documentary is hearing the words of those who did.

Take care.