Tree gazing

    by Priyanka Sacheti

    It’s been many years since I first began photographing trees. I remember that I was driven to photograph them when I experienced the realisation, an almost epiphany even, that each tree had its own distinct personality, a character that was uniquely its own. A forest or a tree grove was a library of tree tales, each tree with a story that was entirely its own. This awareness made me stop and pause to examine each tree I subsequently encountered, opening my eyes to a wealth of beauty that I had earlier overlooked or ignored, even. Over the years, however, I have found myself observing the trees through a more specific femi-nist lens though, seeing and hearing women’s voices and stories emerging from their selves. Women’s herstories have been buried or rendered voiceless in the distant and not so distant past: I have tried to re-tell their tales through the me-dium of trees.
    I gaze up at a soaring, mighty banyan’s canopy, seeing it as an earth goddess both in prayer as well as being the object of prayer.
    I see an ancient leafless tree while soaking in the first of the morning sunlight as a matriarch contemplating the autumn of her years.
    A flamboyant pink trumpet tree in bloom conjures up a poet at her writing desk, both a poem and writer of poetry, poetry pooled around her feet.
    I see in the phenomenon called crown shyness which raintree canopies so spec-tacularly display as a kind of sisterhood, of creating spaces that support and nourish and comfort one another in times of joy and distress.
    A solitary tree rising from an ephemeral lake is a woman who has finally learned the pleasure of dancing for herself – and herself alone.

    And in the proximity of rocks of great, great antiquity, a grandmother gathers around all her young ones and narrates all her untold stories.

    Author’s Bio: 

    Priyanka Sacheti  is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Bangalore, India. She’s published widely about art, gender, culture, and the environment in international digital and print publications over the years. Her literary work and art have appeared in many literary journals such as Barren, Dust Mag Poetry, Common, Parentheses Art, Popshot, The Lunchticket, and The Sunlight Press as well as various past and forthcoming anthologies like Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2022. She’s currently working on a poetry and short story collection.

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