Aspens by the Spring
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
During a morning in mid-October I played with the backpackers by a shimmering mountain spring. Towering above us were golden aspen trees; their leaves danced in the breeze and showered us with dappled light.
The children strung a rope up and down the path, tying it to various trees in a series of playful knots. They made a huge imaginary feast of vegetable soup, baked bread and honey-butter cake by gathering all of their materials from the forest, even the honey. Collecting this ingredient required them to put on a bee-keepers suit, run up the hill, turn left and walk 100 paces, gather the honey from the hive, and return down the mountain to base-camp by the spring. The world felt different in that place, and it was easy to slip into these invented scenes.
Arms of light reached down through the treetops and got caught in the dust of running legs. Happy voices floated upwards to mingle with the noise of the fall forest--the murmuring spring, papery rustling of leaves, and frequent whooshing gusts of wind. Mixed with the warm light tickling our faces, we were held there in the mountain's embrace.
Some children created nests--they were mother owls, of course. Others questioned what would float or sink in the spring and tested out their theories. Some ran up the mountainside and sat on stumps among the dense trees, discussing the varied worlds they had created (and some Minecraft strategies).
As I looked over my photographs from that day I found myself falling into new realms of reality. The colors and textures of these images took me right back into those imaginative spaces the children created. The following images capture the sights, sounds, and physical sensations of the space mixed with the varied internal worlds that came to life that day.