#02 - Elm

Elm trees were my favorite growing up in New England in the 1940's and 1950's, before most elms were killed by Dutch Elm disease. There was a 200 year-old elm in front of our 1765 colonial home that was said to have been planted when the house was built. Baltimore Orioles built their hanging nests in the droooping branches and entertained us with beautiful songs. When I would draw a tree as a child it was either a pointed fir or the graceful shape of an elm.

In my photography, trees have been a kind of natural calligraphy. When Gia-fu Feng and I did our version of Tao Te Ching, he often chose a style of Chinese calligraphy that harmonized with the natural tree calligraphy in the photograph I presented him to write on.

In the summer of 2002, I moved to northern Vermont where there are still quite a few elms. I delight in again feasting my eyes on their familiar shape.

This photograph I made about 1967 of an elm growing in a city park by the shore of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin.

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