The weather here remains atypically warm; perhaps that is somehow related to the spectacular sunrises that have graced the mornings here this weekend. I am finding that a winter, or at least a December, without snow makes photography more difficult than I expected.
Snow has a way of making everything look pretty. An old, broken plastic bucket suddenly looks like an artfully arranged stone in the landscape when it is covered with snow. When the same bucket is sitting the middle of the forest, surrounded by brown, fallen leaves and trees devoid of leaves, it looks like an eyesore. Even without the bucket, brown leaves on the forest floor and brown bark on trees presents fewer opportunities for photos than I’m used to. Somehow, I’m used to the forest looking prettier than it does at the moment.
And that got me to thinking about what we humans consider pretty. Why is it that snow and autumn’s colors are more pleasing to our eyes than a forest without leaves or snow cover? Why must something be pretty for us to consider it valuable or important? Why do we like the Grand Canyon better than bare trees? Why is a spring flower more important to us than a non-flowering vine?
In nature’s scheme of things, one part isn’t more important (hence “better” in human thinking) than the other. Each has a “job,” a reason for it to be the way it is. It’s only humans that prefer one over the other, that calls one pretty but not the other. That considers one important and the other more expendable or less important simply because it’s not pretty.
I wish we could get past this concept of equating prettiness with importance or value. I’m as guilty of it as everyone else, though I’ve always looked more like the non-flowering vine kind of human than the spectacular wildflower kind.
And so, though it is not quite the new year, or even winter solstice (the start of nature’s new year), I’m going to make a resolution to look at beauty in the landscape differently than I have in the past. I will look for and try to find the importance in everything I see. I know it is there.