Abandoning Attachment: Ghost Trees and the Unattainable.

I have tried repeatedly to capture the unique texture, dimension, and outright ghostliness of the cypresses here in Louisiana. I’m sure a better photographer could come closer to doing so. Perhaps a video in the golden hour would be more effective. Perhaps a special lens would do them justice. I wasn’t prepared creatively or technically for the almost otherworldly nature of these trees: especially those hanging skirts several feet above the earth, no water hugging their roots.

Is there anything more beautiful than the unattainable? The sunset no cameras can capture. The mountain dimensions no words can accurately express. The softness and deceptive strength of an infant’s hands. The love we are certain will set us free.

All these fleeting moments and things that are beautiful by their very impermanent nature, we desperately want to cling to as if they are the mountains themselves.

Sunsets fade in seconds, not minutes. My camera can prove that. Mountains erode, though not so much in our lifetime, certainly in our mind’s eye after we drive away. Our little ones grow up (in a perfect world) to become better adults than we are (if we do it right). And love? Love, even if real, can be chipped away at by harsh words and actions or is simply, achingly lost to time.

Louisiana Cypress Trees at Golden Hour

I believe there are people I will always love, despite not being loved by them as I love them. In time, might they have freed me? Let me be me and still swing joyously in their orbit? Certainly, they made no rules and pushed no boundaries.

How long does that last? How long before the love I feel now would wither in the day-to-day grind of stress and expectations.

I see some in my circle of family and friends who seem to balance the conflict with the respect and I see autonomy given easily between them. But, life is ephemeral and I see the grief of the lost as well. Loss of a spouse to illness or accident brings an entirely different sort of spiritual effacement.

This soulmate concept, this “love will set me free” sentiment – why do we clamor for it so feverishly only to be beaten down again and again?

I have set in my head that, at this age, it is easier to live in the pain of a love I can’t have than to ever explore or wait for a love that will only be taken from me again. Easier to recall his voice and mossy eyes and smile and miss those things rather than to look forward to being “set free” by someone who will only chain me again with one sort of demand or another.

Easier for me to take photos of sunsets and trees and mountains.

I realized in typing those last words that when I told him I was going on the road not because of him but for myriad other reasons, I inadvertently lied. However, it’s not so simple as, “I’m running away from this because it’s too painful.”

It comes down to this; on the road, I can’t stand still. I can’t form strong attachments because each exchange is fleeting. That is what I want. Being alone is necessary for me to heal after the demises of a twenty-nine year marriage and a brief romance.

When I drive away from here, I’ll feel, as I do each time I move on, a slight misgiving as if I’m forgetting something. I’ll check and double check all the connections, scan the site for belongings, and search my pockets for bits and pieces. And, I’ll feel that smallest of tugs to go back to Texas, to what-ifs.

I’ll wish I’d somehow captured those damn trees. They’ll be there when I come back through, but they’ll never be quite real to me as long as I can’t record them accurately.

Like Louisiana cypresses, love also will never be quite real to me.

Cypress Roots in Sepia

5 thoughts on “Abandoning Attachment: Ghost Trees and the Unattainable.

  1. Peter Heiss

    I can certainly appreciate your quite personal thoughts and feelings expressed here, Lee—so raw and real. You definitely have a way with words and mental imagery. And I reallyReallyREALLY love the photographic images you have chosen to share here, too. There’s something about trees, and nature, and the outdoors to awaken, uplift, and strengthen the soul. Please don’t stop.

  2. Anne-Sophie

    Your pictures capture the soul of nature, the trees, in your pictures are present, you are somehow able to capture the aura of the trees, skies and landscapes, in a way that make me say. Wow! Every single time.

    The idea of capturing the roots in sepia is just genius. It pictures the tree’s overcoming and transforming its hostile environment into perfectly life sustaining roots.

    The contrast between the cool light of the title picture and the aptly named Louisiana Cypress Trees at Golden Hour shows the difference between the wet and dry areas wonderfully.

    “capture the unique texture, dimension, and outright ghostliness of the cypresses”, and that you did. I struggled to find the right words, so I quoted you.

    Overcoming events and keep one self safe from too salty an environment or too windy a day like a hurricane or tornado, as well as, grow for trees, animals and people is just like the Cypress, it brings out the glorious essence of self, you just shared so beautifully in your words and pictures.

    1. Lee Ellis Post author

      Thank you for your lovely observations and kind words. I miss your letters. I have a way to receive letters but it’s agonizingly slow and costly.

      1. Anne-Sophie

        I apologize for not interacting with you here, earlier.

        I sent a post on FPN with more info right when you and Blanche took off for your adventures so, we could switch to cyber communication, right away. I missed this post and the one before, so, when the one from March, popped up on my feed, I came over..

        Administrative paperwork time and feed full of worldwide events, that are so not pleasant, I retreated even from journaling with fountain pens to writing in mechanical pencil on folded to A5 size printer paper.

        I usually don’t miss a chance to be snarky with a fountain pen, that’s a good blog title, about political events, but…

        In order to calm myself down, I watched a guy trimming cow’s feed, which is fascinating, to a point.

        Speaking of points, I came back to my senses, so I decided to watch ballet and other cultural videos.

        Please make sure to set weather alerts on your phone as it is tornado start of the year, pretty much everywhere east of the Rockies.

        Sorry for the tome. Well it’s war and peace time, so it fits.

        Thank you for bringing back my snarkyness!

        The computer informed me that it is not a word, but dictionaries need to learn to evolve with language.

        Even the French ones have been keeping the Academie Francaise extremely busy, with all the new cyber related terms.that they need to franglais proof without copying the exact terms invented by French Canadians, who have been at it, since the 18th century, but somehow, if it doesn’t come from Paris (say with French accent),

        So the Academicians put on their costumes, take pictures and remove them. The loud garments are Second Empire formal attire, which fabric would give the Carol Burnett’s Gone with the Wind drape costume, a run for its money..

      2. Lee Ellis Post author

        😄 Snark away! I think you can add “ness” to almost any word these days. It’s been a crazy time, for sure. I am anxious about the season. In some ways I’ve done this backward and should be out west now, maybe. That was my original plan but things changed. Oh well.

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