Palm Bark Abstractions

GE McKerrihan
3 min readFeb 12, 2024

Looking Close Reveals A Depth Of Shared Wisdom

“Looking And Listening Closely” — Image by Author

Llano Park is close to home. I walk often in this refuge that covers six large square blocks. The range of vegetation is remarkable. As is the range of park visitors.

There are always lots of walkers, and joggers, of all ages. From the very young, to the very old. There are exercise groups, dance groups, roller bladders. Young men doing tricks, on tricked out bicycles. Older folks practicing Tai Chi. And the list goes on.

I walk here for the range of vegetation on display. It seems to change from day to day. The moist climate encourages daily growth. I am fascinated by both the growth, and the decay. A metaphor for my own ongoing growth and decay.

“Palm Bark Abstraction” — Image by Author

A few days ago this decaying palm bark caught my eye, called to my camera. I recognized the metaphor immediately. This bark made me think of the similarities to my own aging body.

The fading color, the deep rich texture, the evolution brought on by time, and of life well lived.

I felt a sudden kinship between this intricate surface and my own surface, my own aging skin. I also felt less alone. Felt like I had made a new friend.

Close up view of decaying palm bark.
“Layer Upon Layer Of Aging” — Image by Author

Looking closely, I realized that every time I moved my camera a few inches up or down, a new and unique view appeared. Looking from the ground upward six or eight feet, there was no replication. Only constant change,

The same is true for every living, and dying, species on this planet of ours. This is the one thing we share with every being on our planet. We are never alone in this sense.

I appreciate the kinship I feel with all lifeforms. They all can be friends, and teachers, when we are willing to embrace, and listen to them. We are all connected in more ways than we will ever know.

I find these intimate connections to be life affirming. I then feel less alone. I am grateful to be one tiny piece of this connected whole. I also realize I have more friends than I ever would have guessed.

I only have to recognize them when they appear in my field of view. I encourage you to do the same.

You can see more of my daily photography in Oaxaca on Instagram, at gemckerrihan.

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GE McKerrihan

I’ve been using the camera for nearly 50 years. I write about Photography, Art, Travel, and Life. Top Writer in Photography, Art, Creativity, and Inspiration.