[View with images] I take a pictures in the tree pretty often, and maybe once or twice a month I take a few pictures of myself up there. I am, after all, conveying the experience of being in a tree, and part of that experience is that the tree is not empty; whenever I am up there, the tree has me in it. To portray only an empty tree would be to betray this aspect of being in a tree. And, as I am often in the tree shirtless in good weather (what would be the point of putting on a shirt to climb a tree?), I have the occasional photograph of myself shirtless in a tree. Today happens to be one of those days.
I take the picture blind, with a timer.
I intend, of course, that my head be in the picture.
When I see the picture, I laugh. Then I think something like the following thoughts:
1. Man, if you get the light right, anything will look okay.
2. What does it mean that the best selfie I’ve ever taken doesn’t have my face in it? Hmm. Not sure I want to think about that one.
3. You can’t put this online.
4. I’m putting this online!
5. You can’t. People will think you’re vain.
6. We’re all vain. It’s the human condition. Who doesn’t want to look good–at least once in a great while? It’s why we dress up to go out to dinner on special occasions. It’s why we make faces at ourselves or square our shoulders when we pass shop windows.
7. Being in the tree is not about making yourself look good.
8. We’re ancient (my daughters’ word) and we don’t look terrible, and we can’t celebrate this?
9. No; this is supposed to be a spiritual adventure.
10. Exuberance and playfulness are spiritual values! One cannot live by restraint alone, or be serious all the time. Besides, how many pictures of branches and moss can people look at?
11. You know you’re going to include this picture. So quit the philosophical justification. You also know you shouldn’t.
12. Come on, give me a break! Just this once? Just for the hell of it! You’re always over-thinking things.
19. All right. Just this once. Just for the hell of it. Are you happy now?
20. So happy! Thank you!