I love to take photos of things. Collections of things. Seemingly random things. Sometimes I notice people looking, trying to figure out what it is that I am photographing.
Still life. Where does that label come from? Is a bowl of fruit really a “still life?” But when I take a photo of a collection of inanimate things, I call it a still life. Does it freeze a moment when you might imagine life paused? Or maybe the “things” actually have a life of their own?
The school garden is one of my favorite places. Not because I am a gardener. I am an avid photographer of gardens, but kind of a “fair-weather” gardener. But I love the idea of gardens and I love the outdoor learning space of school gardens. I love spaces where kids can uncover bugs, dig in the dirt, write in the shade of trees, hang out for a while under the influence of nature.
The garden was pure respite for my students and me this year with all the COVID restrictions. We pulled weeds, found the world’s largest carrot–forgotten when school closed the previous spring–sowed seeds, and wrote. My hit-and-miss gardening style meant the weeds were always back with a vengeance when we returned to the garden weeks after our previous visit. I was honestly relieved when our garden teacher was able to return to campus and spend weekly time with the kids doing some actual gardening.
And the beauty of it all was that I could spend time with the kids in the garden doing the things I love best: noticing nature, writing under the influence with the breeze in our faces and dirt under our feet, and photographing life…both active and still.